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Full text of "Some Canadian noms-de-plume identified : with samples of the writings to which they are appended"






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The EDITH and LORNE PIERCE 
COLLECTION 0/CANADIANA 




Queeris University at Kingston 



QUEEN'S 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 



KINGSTON, ONTARIO 
CANADA 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/somecanadiannomsOOscad 




SOME 

CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME 

e 

IDENTIFIED : 

WITH SAMPLES OF THE WRITINGS TO WHICH THEY 
ARE APPENDED. 



BY HENRY SCADDING. D.D. 



CANON OF ST JAMES , TORONTO. 



TORONTO : 
COPP, CLARK & CO., PRINTERS, 67 & 69 COLBORNE STREET. 

1877. 



INDEX. 



PAGE 

Alan Fairf ord 9 

Backwoodsman 40 

Bon Vieux Temps 27 

British Canadian 46 

Canadian, A 48 

Charity, Who sang the Song of . 54 

Claud Halcro . 52 

Cinna 31, 50 

Erie-us 49 

Fidelis , 56 

Graduate 44 

Guy Pollock 6 

Isidore 53 

Legion 31 

Libertas 18 

Maple Leaf 15 

Mentor 38 

Mercator 39 

Nerva 26 

Patrick Swift 35 

Plinius Secundus 51 

Pioneer of the Wilderness 42 

Presbyter of Diocese of Toronto 43 

Reckoner 38 

Roseharp 48 

Scotus 45 

Solomon of Streetsville 12 

Veritas 25 

Whistler at the Plough 16 

Wil. D'Leina 55 

Zadig 52 



SOME CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 



I suppose all countries that have a literature at all, have a certain 
number of pseudonymous writings to shew, which have become classic, 
so to speak ; a certain number of productions under feigned names,, 
that have acquired a repute or a notoriety beyond anything perhaps 
that their authors had ever anticipated for them. The oldest litera- 
tures of which we have any knowledge exhibits examples of such 
Writings. To this day we have in circulation compositions assigned 
to Orpheus, Musseus, Homer, Hesiod, Pythagoras, which it is cer- 
tain those personages never penned. In like manner, in the far east 
of Asia, the names of Confucius, Mencius, Manes, Sakyamouni,. 
Mahomet, are abused. And all this not, in every instance, originally 
from a gross intention to deceive. It seems to have been an early 
practice, everywhere perhaps, and one held to be within certain 
limits legitimate, to give importance to compositions by attributing 
them to great men long previously deceased. 

And then the sophists and rhetoricians, and, at later periods, the 
disputants in the schools at universities, have now and then uninten- 
tionally misled posterity by their declamations, in which illustrious 
characters were personated and their style imitated. These produc- 
tions, intended simply as exercises of subtlety and skill, have been, 
in the lapse of time, occasionally assigned to the authors respectively 
mimicked, as their genuine offspring. Thus we now have a Plato and 
a pseudo-Plato j an Aristotle and a pseudo- Aristotle ; a Lucian and 
a pseudo-Lucian ; a Cicero and a pseudo-Cicero. Thucydides and 
Livy have much to answer for in this regard, having led the example 
of putting into the mouths of their heroes formal speeches, which, 
however worthily and truthfully conceived, were never uttered. 

In theology, sad to say, a like practice has prevailed, to such an 
extent that the modern divine has to be very wary in regard to the 
writings which he quotes as authority. For among the Fathers and 



2 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

the Decretalists it is discovered now that, as the French say, " It y 
a fagots et fagots." When we buy the Glenfield starch, are we not 
constantly told to see that we get it? It is just so with Cyprian and 
Athanasius, and many others of that class ; when you cite them, you 
have to see to it that it is they. 

At later periods, pseudonyms have been used for purposes of con- 
cealment, and the writings to which they were attached became 
famous. The Abbe St. Cyran in 1635 wrote his famous defence of 
the French hierarchy, under the title of Petrus Aurelius \ and 
Paschal originally subscribed the name of Louis de Montalte to his 
well-known Provincial Letters. There is in France a whole Diction- 
ary of " Auteurs Deguises sous les noms Etrangers, Empruntes, 
Supposes, Feints h plaisir, OhifFres, Ren verses, Retournes, ou Changes 
d'un Langue en une autre." Baillet, the compiler of this work, has 
also a department in his " Jugements des Savants " for " Auteurs 
Deguises." The name by which Paul Sarpi was known as historian 
of the Council of Trent was Pietro Soave Polano, an imperfect 
anagram of Paolo Sarpi, Venetiano. That Sarpi had some reason to 
protect himself by a disguise, is shown by what befel him on the 
Bridge of St. Mark's, where he was waylaid by assassins and stabbed 
all but mortally. In Germany, Frederick von Hardenberg, author 
of " Hymns to Night" and the mystic romance entitled "Heinrich 
von Ofterdingen," is usually known and quoted as Novalis. 

In Great Britain and Ireland, while yet open criticism of the 
policy of Ministers was held to be seditious— when the publication 
of parliamentary debates was forbidden, and the press generally was 
gagged — a pseudonymous literature of a wide range of course sprung 
up. It was only under disguised names that enlightened men, in 
many an instance, ventured to promulgate their doctrines which, 
however salutary to mankind, were yet inacceptable to those in 
power, and sometimes to the bulk of the community likewise. 
Sometimes the mask assumed was so effectually retained that, in 
spite of considerable curiosity on the point, posterity has been left 
in doubt. Whole shelves are filled with conjectural replies to the 
queries, Who was Martin Marprelate? Who was Junius? But 
Peter Pindar's secret was quickly discovered; as also was Peter 
Porcupine's and Peter Plimley's, no particular pains having been 
taken in any of these cases to preserve it. The same may be said 
of Runnymede and Historicus. 



CANADIAN SoMS-DE-mrfflE IDENTIFIED. 3 

In very recent times, several literary ladies have veiled their sex 
tinder such noms-de-plume as George Sand, George Eliot, Currer 
Bell, Acton Bell, Ellis Bell; and by the adoption of this course, 
they have created for themselves aft entity, so to speak, independent 
of their proper persons ; a thing which has happened in similar 
manner to some male authors also. When we hear or read of Sholto 
and "Reuben Percy, of Thomas Ingoldsby, of Father Prout, of Arthur 
Sketchley, of Barry Cornwall, who is not inclined to think of each 
>of them as substantial, real personages'? We hear sometimes of 
persons carving out a name for themselves ; here the process is re- 
Versed— names carve out and create for themselves persons. 

In the United States they have closely followed the literary prac- 
tices and caprices of the mother country. Some years before the 
Revolution, Franklin was widely known as Richard Saunders, the 
"Poor Richard" of the Almanac from 1732 downwards. In later 
times, Dietrick Knickerbocker, historian of New Amsterdam, i.e., 
New York, became a quasi-actuality, whilst the second assumed name 
•of the same author, GeofFry Crayon, became a familiar expression 
throughout England as well as the United States, and was regarded by 
many as almost a real cognomen. In late years, Mr. Hosea Biglow 
has nearly equalled GeofFry Crayon in extent and degree of reputa- 
tion. Numerous other appellations of this class have likewise 
become household words, throughout the United States at least ; for 
example, Ik. Marvel (Donald Mitchell), Jack Downing (Seba Smith), 
Gail Hamilton (a lady, Miss Dodge), Mark Twain (T. L. Clemens), 
Petroleum J. Nashby (D. R. Locke), <fec. The supposed United 
States characteristic practice of citing only the initial of an inter- 
mediate Christian name, as here, has given rise to the not very 
elegant nowj-de-plwme of Orpheus C. Kerr (R. IT. Newell), intended 
to be a bit of satire on carpet-baggers and other hungry parasites of 
the several governments and municipalities. 

Now, our Canadian literature has something to shew analogous to 
these developments in the literatures of older communities. Our 
Canadian literature, indeed, in what may be called its more infantile 
stage, has consisted, in great measure, of productions to which, for 
reasons arising out of the times, were affixed fictitious signatures. 
And I have thought that it might be a matter of some interest, and 
even of some utility, to collect the more important of these feigned 
names, giving at the same time samples of the writings to which they 



4? CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED: 

are appended, and naming their authors where possible or proper to* 
do so. I do not pretend to give a list of the innumerable Agricolas, 
Justitias, Catos, Pro-bono-publicos, &c, that from time to time have 
abounded in our Canadian papers and periodicals, as in all papers audi 
periodicals, each treating, fitly doubtless, and reasonably, of a topic 
of the moment just once, and then emerging to the view no more, 
and so passing into complete oblivion. This would be an endless 
task, and to identify the respective writers would be a matter per- 
haps of not much moment. But there have appeared from time to 
time amongst us, under fictitious signatures, during our short history, 
especially in what seems to us now a rather remote past, writings- 
which deserved and have acquired more than an ephemeral repute, 
and which have exerted over our mixed yet plastic Canadian society, 
an influence that may be said, in some sense, to continue to the 
present time. It is the authors of such productions as these that I 
am to trace and put on record, as contributors in some sort to our 
nascent Canadian literature, and perhaps to the formation of our 
Canadian national character. 

On subjects then that may be roughly classed as follows, I find 
writings of the kind described : 

1. Our Politics : our politics while Canada was yet known as the 
two Canaclas, Upper and Lower; and our politics just after the 
re-union of the two provinces into one. 2. The promotion of emigra- 
tion. 3. The question of education. 4. Miscellaneous subjects; as, 
for example, the fostering of patriotism towards Canada, and love and 
reverence for the mother country, the cultivation of literature and 
taste in general. And these writings divide themselves into prose 
and verse. 

On the prose side we have; in relation to the politics of the first- 
named period, the writings of Veritas and Nerva. In relation to the 
second, those of Patrick Swift and Legion. On the subject of emi- 
gration we have the Backwoodsman, the Pioneer of the "Wilderness, 
On the educational question there are Graduate, Scotus, British 
Canadian. Under the general head of the inculcation of taste in art 
and literature, the promotion of patriotism, loyalty, attachment to 
the mother country, we have Guy Pollock, Alan Fairford, Solomon 
of Streetsville, Maple Knot, Maple Leaf, The Whistler at the Plough, 
and Libertas. 

On the poetical side, touching of course lightly and gracefully on 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 5 

subjects more or less identical with those just enumerated, we have 
Roseharp, Cinna, Isidore, Plinius Secundus, Claud Halcro, Zadig. 

I exclude with regret, from a kind of necessity, Lower Canadian 
French noms-de-plume, not having convenient access to the early 
journals and other publications which from time to time have 
appeared in what is now the Province of Quebec ; but I know there 
are several which are duly honoured by literary men there. I 
also exclude the writings of Mr. Samuel Slick, the famous clock- 
maker of Slick ville, the decease of their author having occurred 
before his native province, Nova Scotia, was comprised within the 
Canadian boundaries. 

I begin with the prose writers ; and of these I dispose first of those 
whom I have classed as miscellaneous. 

In the periodicals of 1833 and of several successive years, pub- 
lished at Toronto, appeared many communications on miscellaneous 
subjects, signed Guy Pollock. They attracted general attention, 
being marked by an elevation of thought and culture beyond the 
ordinary, and by a good style. I give a passage from a description 
of the Falls of Niagara, by Guy Pollock, in the Canadian Literary 
Magazine for April, 1833, in which he offers some strictures on the 
great cataract thus : " Were I to write a criticism on nature — which, 
by the way, would be something like presumption — I would say," Guy 
Pollock writes, " that for producing a grand emotion, the cascade is 
too low when compared with its extent across the river. The architec- 
tural proportions, as builders express the idea, are not preserved, the 
river even grows broader immediately above the Falls — a circum- 
stance which gives the cascade too much the appearance of an 
immense mill dam — an appearance which excites a very ordinary, 
although, no doubt, a very useful idea. The Falls of Niagara are 
great," he continues, "and therefore in some measure grand; but, 
unless for their magnitude, which in that respect gives them a 
decided superiority, they are, in respect of sublimity of aspect and 
grandeur of surrounding scenery, far inferior to the Falls of Clyde, 
.round, which the jackdaws are screaming, above the goshawks are 
soaring, and under the overhanging groves the bat flies at noon. 
Compared with the Falls of Clyde, those of Niagara have a lifeless 
.appearance." 

The following is from a chapter on craniology in the same periodi- 
cal, by the same writer, under the same signature: "The common 



6 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUlVrE IDENTIFIER 

reproach of wanting brains, a round head, and a thick skull, ar® 
mere colloquial expressions, often spoken at random, to, suit the 
humour of the moment," Guy Pollock says; "hut. on inquiry they 
are found to be strictly philosophical expressions, sanctioned by the- 
experience of ages. This physical deficiency in the position and 
quantity of the brain, explains, on philosophical principles, the grand 
secret why the Ethiopians have so long been retained in a state of 
slavery. That knowledge is power is an undisputed aphorism, which 
applies well to the present condition of the Ethiopian species ; they 
want knowledge to discover and appreciate their own power, other- 
wise they would have broken the gyves of slavery in pieces long before- 
this evil hour : for the first use that every man makes of knowledge 
is to turn it to his own advantage. It is the same want of know- 
ledge, in a still greater degree, which constitutes what we call docility 
in the horse or elephant. The strength of either of these animals is 
far beyond that of a man : but they know it not ; they cannot avail 
themselves of their natural superiority in this respect, therefore they 
are confounded by the commanding skill of their drivers, and tamely 
submit to their da.ninion." 

Guy Pollock is understood to have been Robert Douglas Hamilton,, 
a Scottish M.D., who had seen service as a surgeon in the army and 
navy. He emigrated to Canada in 18 SO, and died in Scarborough > 
near Toronto, in 1857. Before his emigration Dr. Hamilton was. 
known in Scotland and England as the author of works of fiction,, 
and of essays on medical and other subjects. 

The Canadian Literary Magazine, published at Toronto in 1834,. 
was edited by a gentleman afterwards well known in the literary 
world of Canada by the nom-de- plume of Alan Fairford. Undes 
this signature appeared in a widely -circulated Canadian periodical a 
series entitled " The English Layman." The subjects, handled therein 
were such as the following : The connection between Democracy and. 
Infidelity, Duties of the Laity, Plain Reasons for Loyalty, the Press,. 
Sacrilege, <fcc. In all the productions of Alan Fairford there is 
noticeable a fine, manly sentiment expressed in remarkably vigorous, 
and pure English. I quote from the introduction to his paper 
entitled, " Plain Reasons for Loyalty." The scene is Cobourg, on 
Lake Ontario. We are reminded of the style, now of Paley, now of 
Washington Irving. " I sit," Alan Fairford says, " while I write,, 
beneath one of those lofty, drooping elms which, having been spared 



CANADIAN KOMS-DB-PLU3H IDENTIFIED. < 

from the general havoc of their sylvan brethren, are to be found 
here and there, erect in single beauty, relieving the eye after it has 

been wearied i _ g on extended masses of unbroken foliage. It 
stands on a ridge in the midst of an open country, and when seen 
from a distance on a summer's evening, with a skv as vet irlowinor 
with a thousand inimitable tints, it displays so minutely all its 
tracery, branches, and even leaves, that it appears as if it would be 
no difficult task to count them. But the day is as yet in all its 
meridian splendour. The shrill, cheerful chorus of the grasshoppers 
rings in my ears. The echoes of the nail mingle with the softer 
murmur of the breeze that wantons with the leaves over my head ; 
and every sound and sight proclaims that the sand has still some 
hours to run before the hum of industry and the voice of creation 
will be mute. Rich, various and beautiful is the landscape on which 
I g ize. At my feet the country descends into a gentle slope ; to 
this - Is a narrow, fertile valley, with a stream winding through 

it that waters the meadow, t turns the wheel of the mill, and contri- 
butes alike to the sustenance and health of man. the cool refreshment 
of the panting cattle, the growth of manufactures, and the promo- 
tion of agriculture. Beyond the valley the ground as into a 
gentle undulation. Fields that have consigned their produce to the 
barn, lie denuded of their wealth, but dotted here and there with 
browning cattle. A range oi woods, with many a crested eminence 
wrapped in the blue haze of an autumnal day. terminates my view. 
The frost has not yet scattered the colours of the rainbow over the 
forest, but there is nothing like sameness in the glorious landscape. 
Orchards laden with reddening fruit, the white farm house with its 
commodious outbuildings, the country inn. flanked by a long line of 
Lombardy poplars, which here need not droop for want of Italian 
skies, the towering mill with its pointed angles, and the broad 
Ontario stretching to the right, are objects that successively attract 
the eye as it travels with human restlessness in search of novelty and 
variety. Now I turn my head, and perceive that the picture is incom- 
plete, for I have not yet introduced into it a pleasing scene of the 
unfinished harvest — the sheaves that you cannot look upon without 
thanking God for your daily bread, and the rising stack on which 
they will shortly be piled. Alongside oi the gathered and gathering 
tre isures of the present year, the husbandman is committing to the 
rich fallow the promise of the next : and my mind is at once regaled 



O CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

with the sight of a present plenty and the prospect of its undimin- 
ished succession. To whom do these woods and meadows, these 
streams and valleys, these smiling homesteads, these flocks and herds, 
belong 1 Does their possessor reside in some baronial hall — the rural 
king of his surrounding tenantry 1 Or is the soil the property of a 
few, while the many rise up early and lie down late, and eat the 
bread of carefulness 1 The inequalities of condition and wealth — 
the characteristics of an old and densely-peopled country — are not as 
yet known in Upper Canada." 

The following has reference to the Duke of Wellington : " We 
are prepared to view him meditating gigantic schemes and laying 
down the plans by which they are to be accomplished. We find no 
more than we expected when he compresses a life of truth and 
experience into a single hour, and with an intuitive glance foretells 
the catastrophes of the various dramas enacting on the world's wide 
stage before him. We perceive no cause for special wonderment in 
his untiring sagacity, in his combination of the aggressive vigour of 
Marcellus with the defensive caution of Fabius, in his unrivalled 
practical sense, his unshaken magnanimity, and his lof y disinterested- 
ness. These, it must be confessed, are signal and noble qualities, but 
they fill us with esteem rather than with affection ; they dazzle rather 
than fascinate our eyes ; and their combination is not a novel feature 
in the character of the world's foremost men. The traits which these 
Despatches exhibit to us for the first time, and which previously were 
not in general accorded to the Duke of Wellington, are those which 
add love to admiration, and heighten national gratitude into personal 
attachmert. It is ennobling to our species, and delightful to our 
feelings, to find that the highest excellences of private station are 
not irreconcilable with the stern career of the victorious warrior, and 
that the household virtues and the peace-loving humanities of life 
may be found among the demoralization of camps and the carnage- 
covered fields of battle." 

I select one more passage from this excellent master of English 
style. It is from a paper in a humorous strain, entitled, " A Defence 
of Little Men," and it professes to be, not by Alan Fairford this 
time, but by Sir Minimus Pigmy. " Perhaps some tall gentleman 
is laughing at what I have written," Sir Minimus says, " but he had 
better take care not to laugh in my face. Little men are as choleric 
as Celts ; and Sir Jefferey Hudson (a name ever to be venerated by 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 9 

me) has shown that little men are not to be insulted with impunity. 
On the breaking out of the troubles in England, the pigmy knight 
was made a captain in the Royal Army, and in 1644 attended the 
Queen to France, where he received a provocation from Mr. Crofts, 
a young man of family, which he took so deeply to heart that a 
challenge ensued. Mr. Crofts appeared on the ground armed with a 
syringe. This ludicrous weapon roused the indignation of the mag- 
nanimous little hero to the highest pitch. A real duel ensued, in 
which the antagonists were mounted on horseback, and Sir Jefferey, 
with the first fire of his pistol, killed Mr. Crofts on the spot. I 
cannot refrain from lingering on the history of the gallant". Hudson. 
Sir Walter Scott, in his novel of ' Peveril of the Peak,' has immor- 
talized the chivalrous little knight, and I humbly wish to lend my 
feeble aid in making known to the Canadian public the deeds of 
departed littleness." 

These remarkable papers were from the pen of Mr. John Kent, 
chief secretary for a time to Sir George Arthur, one of the Lieut.- 
Governors of Upper Canada, and afterwards private tutor and confi- 
dential secretary to the present Earl of Carnarvon. The influence 
of Mr. Kent's character and writings on the minds of many of his 
contemporaries during his sojourn in Canada was very marked. 

Between 1848-58, our Canadian Streetsville acquired great dis- 
tinction and eclat as being the scene of the publication of the Streets- 
ville Review, a periodical which managed to gain for itself a reputa- 
tion altogether beyond the average for originality and spirit. Its 
editor occasionally spoke of himself as Solomon in the columns of 
this journal, and under this sobriquet, innumerable oracular utter- 
ances of the Review were quoted and circulated in most of the news- 
papers of Canada. Dry Scotticisms and quaintly-formed words and 
expressions gave a kind of pungency to Solomon's observations on 
current events. The following will serve as specimens : 

From the Weekly Review of June 17th, 1854. "Lyrical Lunacy. 
Solomon has ever regarded it as a leading feature of his mission to 
check, by judicious application of the taws, that itch for engendering 
idiotical rhymes which so calamitously characterizes this cranky age. 
The latest escapade of this description, calling for stripes, appears in 
the Commercial Advertiser of Montreal on Tuesday," &c. He then 
transcribes and remarks on the doggerel referred to. Again : 
" Solomon in his slippers. It is a common superstition among the 



10 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

million that editors are fashioned out of cast-iron, and that they can 
engender articles from the primary day of January to the final ditto 
of December without experiencing lassitude or performing the mus- 
cular action of a yawn. Never was there a more monstrous fallacy. 
Solomon at least can speak for himself, that he is subject to all the 
weaknesses of our common humanity, and desiderates an occasional 
modicum of repose quite as much as the balance of Adam's multi- 
tudinous family." Again : "The rival settlements of Hamilton and 
Toronto being witnesses, Streetsville is progressing at railroad speed. 
Like the fabled bearer of the mythical Jack, a sharp-eyed observer 
can twig the perpetual motion of its growth. Our grist and saw- 
mills are too numerous to be recapitulated without drawing sundry 
breaths ; our stores emulate the dollar-coining emporiums of King 
Street (Toronto) ; and before long, the magic wand of an act of 
incorporation will call into being crops of civic fathers, wise as Solon, 
and inflexible as Brutus senior. In these circumstances, we are 
patriotically desirous that our beloved sucking city should put her 
best foot foremost, and exhibit to an admiring universe smooth-kempt 
hair and a shining well- washed face. Now, nothing would tend so 
much to improve the frontispiece of Streetsville as a sprinkling of 
trees judiciously emplanted before her churches, marts and villas. 
Stern truth compels us to admit that the village does not possess an 
overly inviting appearance to the stranger who, whirled past in the 
accommodating machine of Squire Harris, snatches a passing glance 
at her charms. Tardily doth the plasterer and bricklayer repair the 
dilapidations which accident or senility makes in her dwellings ; 
and too frequently doth the stocking or superannuated Kilmarnock 
night-cowl usurp the place of plate or crown glass in the windows of 
her sons. If all these flaws were redressed, most assuredly we 
would rise in the scale of cityhood so far as appearance went. But 
chiefly and above all would the arborical immigration which we 
advocate heighten the witcheries of our far-famed clachan. Let the 
sceptic on this head pay a visit to the neighbouring republic, and he 
will frankly admit that we have got the legitimate sow by the ear." 
Kossuth's avoidance of the British side of the Lakes in 1852 is 
thus spoken of : " We esteem it as a high compliment that Kossuth 
has not visited Canada. We thank him for the tacit admission that 
the spurious metal which so tickled the vulgar taste of our republican 
neighbours would be altogether thrown away upon die denizens of 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. II 

British North America. There* is, there must be, a lingering frag- 
ment of shame about the man after all. It is a redeeming feature 
in Kossuth's character that he lacked assurance to preach to a free 
people, like the subjects of Queen Victoria, about freedom, after 
coming from the land of bondage, redolent with the foul kisses of the 
tyrant, and gorged with money earned by the toil of the slave." 

This Solomon, under another guise, edited the Anglo-American 
Magazine, a valuable periodical published for several years in Toronto 
by Mr. Maclear. One conspicuous feature of this monthly was a 
department in which, after the pattern of Blackwood of old,, a group 
of friends discuss matters in a free and familiar manner. The per- 
sonage who figures as the editor in these " Sederunts," as they are 
called, is " Culpepper Crabtree, Esq.," major in the militia, at whose 
shanty events and books are made to pass under review ; the other 
interlocutors are the Doctor, the Laird, the Squireen, and Mrs. 
Grundy. The shanty itself is on the banks of the Humber. It is 
thus spoken of: "On a gentle slope, some four miles to the west- 
ward of the ' Muddy clearing,' as Solomon of Streetsville delighteth 
to call our city, i.e., Toronto, may be seen one of those primitive- 
fabrics, yclept in Cannuckian vernacular a ' shanty.' " It is further 
described. The- conversation then proceeds in a natural, chatty way, 
with a plentiful intermixture of anecdote and humour. Thus in the 
year of the Duke of Wellington's death (1852), we have : — 

" Laird. — Ha'e ye read, Crabtree, the vidimus which the Times 
gives of the great Duke's life and character 1 

Major. — J have, and with unmixed enjoyment. It is one of the 
most masterly essays which has graced the periodical press for many 
a long day, far surpassing, in my humble opinion, the highest flights 
of that showy but intensely superficial writer, Thomas Babington 
Macaulay. 

Laird. — You are a thocht too hard on Tummus, Major. His 
sangs o' auld Rome rouse my blood like the blast o' a border 
trumpet. 

Major. — By your leave, Laird, you are creating a man of straw 
for the mere purpose of demolishing your handicraft. I said nothing 
against Macaulay as a poet, but merely demurred to his pretensions 
as a historian. 

Doctor. — The less a fossil such as you are, Crabtree, says respect- 
ing a Whig historian, the better. You know that I, as a Whig, can 



12 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

never agree with your opinion. We are wandering, however, from 
the point in hand. What a wonderful establishment the Times 
must be, which, almost at an hour's notice, can turn out such an 
article as that to which I referred." 

Again, in 1852, thus closes a discussion on Cooper, the United 
States novelist. The Major, or editor, thus speaks of the book before 
him, viz., a " Memorial of Cooper," as a pleasingly compiled record 
of certain proceedings which have recently taken place in New 
York, with the view of giving expression to the public sentiment on 
the death of that illustrious novelist. On the Doctor's observing 
that " Cooper's Leatherstocking " is a chef-tVozuvre, the Laird 
rejoins : " I like his writings wcel eneuch ; but ah, man, he's no to 
compare wi' Walter Scott," <fec. The peroration of a eulogy by W. C. 
Bryant is quoted, of which the language is somewhat high-flown. 
This draws from the Squireen the observation : "Ah! how swately* the 
dew of praise must fall on the sensibilities of departed genius, if the 
spiritual essence be cognizant of the incense of corporeal votaries at 
its shrine and susceptible of its influence." To which the Laird 
gruffly replies : " Nane o' your poetical flights o' fancy ! Dinna forget 
we ha'e four miles o' limestone to hirple o'er afore the sma' hours 
come ringing frae the St. Lawrence Ha'. Guid nicht, Major." 
{Exeunt.) Thus the sederunt closes. 

Solomon of Streetsville was the Rev. J. MacGeorge. Mr. Mac- 
George, prior to his emigration to Canada, was an experienced 
litterateur, a contributor to Fraser and other English periodicals. 
In his graver moods, Mr. MacGeorge was a poet of no mean grade, 
.as we shall perhaps hereafter see. 

I observe in Morgan's Bibliotheca Canadensis that in 1858 a 
work of fiction, highly spoken of, appeared in Montreal, entitled 
" The Life and Adventures of Simon Seek ; or, Canada in all Shapes," 
by Maple Knot. I regret that I have it not in my power to give a 
sample of Maple Knot, who was Mr. Ebenezer Clemo, now 
deceased. The noin-de-plume Maple Knot suggests to me the 
mention here of " Maple L3af," or rather " The Maple Leaf," a very 
handsome Christmas or New Year's gift book, which was published 
in Toronto in 1847, and in several successive years. The "Maple 
Leaf" introduced to the Canadian public a goodly company of credit- 
able local writers, who, without the stimulus afforded by this publi- 
cation, would perhaps never have ventured to try their hand at such 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-FLtfME IDENTIFIED. 13' 

Work. The "Maple Leaf" thus contributed much to the genesis of a 
high-class Canadian literature. It were to be wished that the editor 
of this volume had identified himself with Maple Leaf as a nom- 
de-plume instead of resigning it altogether to the volumes of which 
he superintended the issue. The papers in that book are all anony- 
mous. If none of them are from his own facile and elegant pen. it i& 
certain that the prefaces are his handwork. From these accordingly 
I venture to make an excerpt or two, treating them as though they 
had appeared under the signature of Maple Leaf. 

First, I give a pleasant account of our Canadian London as it was in 
1848, with some remarks on the Canadian habit of transplanting local 
names from the " Old Country." " The good custom," Maple Leaf 
says, " of naming places, as they spring into existence in this new 
world, after the old localities with which the early associations of the 
settlers are connected, at once attests the affectionate remembrance 
of the fatherland, and preserves unimpaired the sweet ties which 
bind us to ' home,' as we still fondly call the far distant land of our 
birth. In the present case the town of London, the county of which 
it is the capital is Middlesex, the stream the banks of which it 
graces bears that name so closely associated with the most thrilling 
events of English history, the Thames. The toll-gate on the right 
of our view opens on another Westminster Bridge; and a second 
Blackfriars would meet the eye if we could but see a little more to 
the left." 

" Procedo et parvam Trojam, simulataque magnis 
Pergama, et arentem Xanthi cognomine rivum 
Agnosco, Sdseseque amplector limina portse." 

w Nor is the Canadian stream," Maple Leaf continues, "wholly 
wanting in historic interest ; for in a battle in its neighbourhood fell 
the noblest Indian warrior that ever drew bow, or raised rifle, in 
defence of the ' White Father ' of the tribes. It was at the battle 
of the Thames that the gallant Tecumseth was lost to his brother 
warriors, and to his country ; but this, however, was at a distance 
from the scene more immediately under our notice. Elevated on a 
pleasant bank, which looks down upon the junction of two streams, 
stands our Canadian London. As it stretches itself towards the 
waters that flow on either side of it, it seems as if fondling them into 
that amity with which they embrace and flow on united, ere they 
leave the reconciler of their variance. From this ' meeting of the 



14 CANADIAN tt0MS-BB-PLttME SB^KTlf lEr>. 

Waters ' — ah ! how unlike that sweet valley in our own dear isle, with 

' Her purest of crystal and brightest of green !' 
*— the rapid fiver hastens on through a fertile Country, until it pouts 
its tribute into the lap of St. Olair, some miles below Chatham, 
Long previous to the foundation ef the town, the surrounding coun- 
try was Well settled, and contained many wealthy farmers, and the 
spot was called by the uncouth familiar appellation of 'The Forks.'" 
In another place, we have a reference to the University of TorontO> 
t>r, as it was called in 18-18, the llniversity of King's College. At 
that time the Work of the University Was carried on in the Parlia- 
ment Buildings, the Government having been removed, when the 
two Canadas Were united, from Toronto to Montreal. A flagstaff is 
also spoken of in Government House grounds, whereon, when the 
Governor was here, a flag used to be displayed. After numerous 
vicissitudes of local history, it is pleasant in 1876 to have our Parlia^ 
ment Buildings fit Toronto again put to their proper use \ and to see 
the symbol of a Governor's presence amongst us again floating over 
the same Government House grounds, which had been for a time 
deserted. A humorous allusion occurs to the fact that while the 
University was in occupation of the central Parliament Building, one 
of the wings of the same building was made a receptacle for lunatics. 
It is singular that it has been the fate of the University, since its 
removal to its present magnificent quarters, to have again become a 
tlose neighbour to a receptacle for lunatics. " The long ranges of red 
brick, towards the left of the view," Maple Leaf says, speaking of 
an engraving of Toronto, " were once tuneful with the eloquence of 
our legislators, but are now the peaceful retreat of learning. In the 
main structure and west wing are the temporary halls and lecture 
rooms of our noble university, while the building on the east is at 
present occupied by the Lunatic Asylum, a playful illustration of the 
poetic adage, 

1 Great Wit to Madness nearly is allied.'" 

"A little in the rear," the account of the engraving gees on to say) 
" above a thick plantation, may be seen the staff which, in days gone 
by, was wont to bear the flag that indicated to the lieges of Toronto 
the presence of the Lieutenant-Governor, in the official residence 
embosomed by those dark trees." 

Maple Leaf, who thus in 1848, and ten years earlier it may be 
said, was the first to call forth with sensible effect, and mould into 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 15 

r3spectable form, a higher Canadian literature, was the Eev. Dr. Mc- 
Canl, still among us, engaged in the same work j not now single- 
handed, so to speak, but surrounded by compeers of the first class, all 
" minding the same thing," seconded, too, more or less, by a younger 
generation scattered throughout Canada, Who, having received from 
such hands the sacred torch of learning and light, are ambitious, it 
is hoped, to pass it on, trimmed and brilliant, to their successors. 

I next make an extract from a Volume of a very miscellaneous 
character, published in Montreal in 1860, bearing on its title page, 
in addition to the real name of the author, the nom-de-plwne by 
which he had previously been extensively known, viz., " One who 
has whistled at the Plough !" This work is entitled, " The Conserva- 
tive Science of Nations ) being the first complete narrative of Somer- 
ville's Diligent Life in the Service of Public Safety in Britain." 
The mass of the book consists of matter with which Canada has little 
concern, but the passage which I quote relates to Canadian affairs. It 
criticises, it will be seen, the tone adopted by the editor of the Quebec 
Mercury towards the Canadian French, and hints that the politics 
of that paper are, in his opinion, " small," i.e., Somewhat narrow in 
their range. He also gives his views on the Science of Political 
Economy. 

" Of difficulties in governing Canada, on which you remark with 
emphasis, I do not," the "Whistler sayS to the editor of the Quebec 
Mercury, " as a stranger, presume to speak beyond this, that the 
unenfranchised working class of Britain does not inherit an enmity 
of race, language and religion, against the throne, church, laws and 
constitution. If you see no difference between the French Canadians 
who are enfranchised here and the unenfranchised men of Britain, 
I do. You date the difficulties of Canadian Government from the 
advent of the Whigs to power at the Reform era, 1830, 1831, 
1832, and rail at me for being their ally, while I call myself a 
Conservative. Sir," he then shrewdly observes, "the difficulty in 
governing Canada dates from the 13th of September, 1759. Diffi- 
culty of government is a penalty of conquest everywhere. Not 
ail the wisest or sternest Tories ever born to the inheritance of 
power, could govern Canada by a compulsory sword and proscription 
of race, as you seem to desire, in presence of the United States and 
of free institutions in Britain. As for Radicals, Whigs, Tories and 



16 CA-tfABIAtf NoMs-BE-PtUME fDENTWlEB. 

any such party alliances, I never was of them. Mine has not been & 
life of small politics. Much of my literary life has been spent, and 
my brain Worn to even incapacity for literary labour, in rescuing the 
science of Political Economy from the soulless materialism which had 
made it, in mouths of Whigs and Radicals, odious to the People. It 
has been my self-imposed task to humanize and Christianize Political 
Economy. I assert man to be the primary element in national 
wealth." 

The Whistler, Mr. Somerville, still, I believe, resides in Canada, 
and occasionally addresses a communication to Canadian journals. 
It was his intention, at one time, to identify himself with a periodical 
on Canadian Agriculture. In the preface to " The Diligent Life," 
he thus speaks of himself: "Having been bred in the toils and joys 
of agricultural and rural life, its associations have for me a charm 
beyond all other objects of literature." 

By right of subsequent intimate association with our country, we 
may fairly claim as a Canadian writer, Libertas, the author of a book 
entitled, " The Fame and Glory of England Vindicated," which 
appeared at New York in 1842, with that nom-de-plume on its title- 
page. It was a review and a refutation in detail of the work of a 
United States writer named Lister, who, after a visit to England of a 
few weeks, in 1840, undertook to pronounce judgment on what he saw 
and heard there, and to give the pre-eminence in most things to the 
United States. The book was entitled, " The Glory and Shame of 
England." Libertas exposes the mode in which Lister's book was 
manufactured, and the numerous misstatements and unwarrantable 
inferences it contained respecting England and her institutions ; and 
in the course of the discussion he is led to give his views- — which are 
enlightened and broad — on the English Corn Laws, the Poor Laws, 
British and American Tariffs, Taxation, Education, Church and 
State, Slavery, and other interesting questions ; and " in reversing," 
Libertas says, " the low position in which Lister has placed Britain 
and her institutions, and the high elevation he has assigned to the 
United States, we conceive that we have done no more than justice 
requires, and which, we feel assured, impartial history will award to 
the two countries, when the transactions of the present generation 
shall be placed on record. * * * The author will think his 
time well bestowed," Libertas continues, "if he shall succeed in 



CANADIAN N03IS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 17 

shewing the impossibility of such works as ' The Glory and Shame of 
England ' being published without risk of detection and exposure, 
or in throwing any additional light on those questions which are now 
agitating the public on both sides of the Atlantic." I give a passage 
from the thirteenth chapter as a specimen of the writer's clear and 
vigorous style. Lister had asserted that " English liberty had its 
broadest foundations during," as he chose to call it, " Cromwell's 
splendid administration." Libertas then proceeds : " Now, we never 
knew any man who was a genuine friend of liberty, who admired 
Oliver Cromwell. With such persons you will invariably find that 
it is republicanism, not liberty, that they admire. It is not tyranny 
that they dislike, but monarchy. Cromwell was, like many repub- 
licans, a seeker of power. Republicanism was with him, as with 
Napoleon Bonaparte, the ladder by which he reached that power. 
Both kicked away the ladder when the power was attained. Will 
our author say," asks Libertas, " what stone was ever laid on the 
temple of freedom by Cromwell after he reached his elevation % He 
broke up the remains of the Bump Parliament with a military force, 
crying out as the last vestige of popular power disappeared, ' Take 
away that bauble.' He summoned another Parliament, consisting of 
his own creatures, who went such lengths in folly that even their 
master was ashamed of them." Then a little further on : "We have 
often been astonished to hear men, styling themselves democratical 
republicans, praising Napoleon Bonaparte. That unprincipled man 
went farther lengths than Cromwell ; and yet because he was 
not born to royalty, and because he overturned ancient dynasties, he 
is still looked on with respect by republicans, and all his tyranny 
and ambition are forgotten. The splendid administration r.nd 
splendid talents of these ambitious men, only rendered them more 
dangerous to the liberties and independence of nations. The solution 
of such strange inconsistency is plainly this : that many republicans 
are not favourable to liberty, and many understand nothing of its 
genuine principles. It is too readily assumed that republicanism is 
synonymous with freedom, but such is not necessarily the case. 
Oppression by a majority is just as much oppression as by a king or 
aristocracy ; and the oppression becomes truly fearful, when that 
majority delegates its power to wicked and selfish men, and is so 
ignorant that it is not aware when that power is abused." 
9 



18 CANADIAN N0MS-DE-F1UME IDENTIFIED, 

Lister, the very unfair, and in fact ignorant criticiser of oM 
England and her ways, was an American clergyman. Hence the 
motto from Burns on the title-page of- the " Fame and Glory of 
England : " 

' ' Some books are lies frae end to end, 
And some great lies were never penn'd ; 
E'en ministers, they ha'e been kenn'd, 

In holy rapture, 
A rousing whid at times to Tend, 
And nail't wi' Scripture." 

Liber tas is known to have been the late Peter Brown, Esq., the 
founder of the Globe journal in Toronto; a Scottish gentleman, 
freshly remembered in our community for his eminent talents as a 
journalist, for his high literary attainments and skill, and for many 
estimable traits of character, as a genial and benevolent member 
of society. 

We now come to our political noms-de-plume. 

Canada, both in its French and its English portions, has had a 
troubled history. With a very mixed population, teeming with a 
variety of clashing prejudices, brought with them or inherited from 
the Old World, governors sent out by the parent state to guide their 
destinies, to amalgamate them into one mass, to mould their character 
into a national consistency, have found, especially in years bygone, 
that their task was not an easy or a trifling one ; and whatever their 
line of conduct, they were sure to be criticized with severity by one 
coterie or another in the community. Here, as elsewhere, the news- 
papers and other local periodicals have been vents for the spleen of 
individuals ; and as at early periods in Canada, Upper and Lower, 
men in power held it to be proper to stand on their dignity more 
punctiliously than they do now, it was not quite safe for writers to 
come out with their strictures in propria persona. Consequently, 
the local periodicals of the day abound with objurgatory communica- 
tions under the fictitious signatures usually adopted in the newspapers 
and periodicals of the same period in Great Britain and Ireland. 
And when I say in former days men in power were specially touchy, 
I include in the expression the Houses of Assembly themselves, 
which were very ready to summon offenders before them for verbal 
breaches of privilege. Thus Mr. Cary, editor of the Quebec Mercury, 
was sent for by the Lower Canadian House, in 1813, for publishing 
a communication signed " Juniolus Canadensis," an invective, in the 
style of Junius, against Mr. Stuart, a member of the House. Mr. 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 19 

Caiy absented himself from the city during the remainder of the 
Session, and so eluded the search of the Serjeant-at-Arms. But the 
day after the prorogation the following Card appeared in the Mercury : 
"The Editor's respects to a majority of the House of Assembly. 
Being just arrived from a tour of business, he learns that the House 
had evinced much anxiety to see him during his absence. Unfor- 
tunately, his return has taken place a day too late for him to have 
the honour of waiting on the House. He is, however, rather at a 
loss to conceive how his presence could be in any manner useful in 
assisting them in their vocation of framing laws." 

It would be, of course, an endless and unprofitable undertaking to 
trace the authorship of the great bulk of pseudonymous productions 
in early Canadian journals on political subjects. But one nom-de- 
plume which appeared in the columns of the Montreal Herald, in the 
years 1813-15, presents exceptional claims to consideration. The 
signature of Veritas has become historical. Moreover, it possessed 
for a time an additional degree of interest from the slight mystery 
and uncertainty which attached to it, the author having taken some 
pains, as I suppose, to maintain an incognito. As all persons con- 
cerned have long passed off the scene, no harm will be done now if 
I remove the veil, as I shall do presently, and for the first time since 
an uncertainty on the subject sprang up. 

Sir George Prevost was the Governor- General of Canada and Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Forces in 1812, when the war broke out 
between Great Britain and the United States, and the letters of 
Veritas are devoted to an adverse criticism of Sir George's military 
tactics throughout the unnatural contest. In many of the subsequent 
accounts of the war of 1812, Veritas is quoted as an authority, but 
I do not observe anywhere that the real name of the writer is men- 
tioned. It became, in fact, as we shall see, almost irretrievably lost. 
So late as 1855, after all reason for secrecy had passed away, Auchin- 
leck, in his "History of the War, '12, '13, '14," defends Sir George 
Prevost against the strictures of the shadowy Veritas. "Veritas 
observes," he says, " that it is the acme of assurance to insinuate that 
the [British] Ministry were to blame for the insufficiency [of force in 
the two Provinces at the outbreak of the war], especially as they 
could only have a knowledge of our wants through Sir George's in- 
formation. Now, how in justice," Auchinleck asks, " can Sir George 
be blamed for not informing Ministers of his requirements for a war 
which he was instructed [by that Ministry] by all the means in his 



20 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

power to avoid the promotion of? In his anxiety to attack the 
movers of the address [to Sir George, on his departure from Quebec] 
in reference to the war, Veritas has suffered himself to go to the 
verge of injustice." Again, in Col. W. F. Coffin's admirable and 
eloquent work, entitled " 1812 ; or the War and its Moral : a Cana- 
dian Chronicle," it is observed, "If York (Toronto) had been left 
defenceless and unprotected ; if a ship of war in the hands of the 
shipwright had been recklessly exposed to destruction, the fault was 
not with Sheaffe nor with his direct superior, Sir George Prevost, as 
charged by Veritas, but with the authorities in England, who trifled 
with the emergency until too late, and then spent treasures in life 
and money to repair an irreparable error." 

In Tapper's " Life and Letters of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock," 
Veritas is also largely quoted, but in the same abstract way. The 
author of an article in the Quarterly Review of July, 1822, headed 
"Campaigns in the Canadas," evidently knew who Veritas was; but 
he refrains from naming him. "The Letters of Veritas," the writer 
says, " were originally printed in a weekly paper published at Mon- 
treal, in Lower Canada, and subsequently collected in the little volume 
before us. "Within a small compass," the reviewer continues, " these 
unpretending letters contain a greater body of useful information 
upon the campaigns in the Canadas tho.n is anywhere else to be found. 
They are, we believe, the production of a gentleman in Montreal of 
known respectability. Though not a military man, he enjoyed the 
best opportunities for acquaintance with the circumstances of the 
war ; and as these letters, which excited great attention in the 
Canadas, appeared in successive papers while Montreal was filled 
with almost all the officers of rank who had served in the country, 
it may reasonably be presumed that his errors, had he committed 
any, would not have escaped without censure ; yet no reply was ever 
attempted to his statements — no doubt ever expressed in the pro- 
vinces of the correctness of his assertions." My curiosity, a few 
years since, having become aroused as to the identity of Veritas, it 
came to be with me, for a time, a kind of Junius-question which I 
sought to solve : for a long time, but not, finally, without success. 
I searched in vain in the useful works of Mr. H. J. Morgan, of 
Ottawa, the compiler of " Sketches of Celebrated Canadians," and the 
Blbliotheca Canadensis ; but I found no clue. T interrogated the late 
Rev. Dr. Richardson on the subject (he, in his younger days, lost an 
arm while actively serving in a naval capacity in one of the expedi- 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 21 

tions ordered by Sir George Prevost). I addressed notes to several 
gentlemen who had interested themselves in early Canadian history, 
but without result. Amongst them, especially, I applied to Col. 
Coffin, above-named, but after inquiry instituted, he could afford me 
no help. Inquiries were also made for me of the present proprietors 
and publishers of the Montreal Herald. I thought that possibly 
among the traditions of the office of that paper the name of its now 
historical contributor might be preserved. Mr. Penny, the present 
editor of the Herald, kindly endeavoured to get the desired infor- 
mation from Mr. Archibald Ferguson, a gentleman now aged more 
than ninety years, formerly proprietor of Herald. Mr. Ferguson's 
reply, however, now lying before me, was as follows : — " In answer 
to your note of the 17th instant, I beg to inform you that I do not 
know who wrote the articles signed Veritas and Nerva, in 1815. 
They were published nine years before I purchased the Herald 
establishment, and the two former proprietors were dead before I 
purchased." (I had coupled my query about Veritas with one about 
a writer styling himself Nerva, also in the Herald ; but Xerva I 
discovered afterwards by accident, while looking through the articles 
in Mr. Morgan's Bibliotheca Canadensis.) How I came at length to 
recover the all but totally forgotten authorship of the Veritas letters, 
I will detail concisely after I have given a sample or two of the pro- 
ductions themselves. I add the reflection : if in so short a period an 
uncertainty so decided could spring up in regard to writings whose 
authorship was probably notorious to contemporaries, how easy it 
must have been, in the days when printing was unknown, and when 
of many an important record no duplicate existed, for ambiguities to 
arise on such points ; how easy it must have been, at the dictate* of 
policy or ambition, to falsify and substitute, with small chance of 
explicit detection at the hands of posterity. 

Veritas, throughout his letters, inveighs against Sir George Prevost 
for an apparent lack of energy, decision, and dash. But we must 
bear in mind what Auchinleck has said, as quoted just now, that Sir 
George was probably under restraint from the instructions which he 
had received from the Ministry at home, who had no relish, for the 
contest in wmich they found themselves engaged. " Towards spring, 
1814:, so inveterate," Veritas says, "was Sir 'George's rage for armis- 
tices, notwithstanding the injurious consequences of the former to 
the military service, that a negotiation for another was set on foot.,. 



22 CANADIAN NOMS-DE- PLUME IDENTIFIED 1 . 

and defeated solely from the refusal of our admiral on the American 
Station to concur in it. The Americans gave out that the proposition 
came from Sir George, which I believe, because otherwise he would 
have met it at once by a direct negative that would have ended all 
discussion on the subject. In January, 1814, whilst the Legislature 
was sitting at Quebec, Sir George made a trip to Montreal, from no 
military motive that has ever been discovered or assigned, during 
which the then Assembly were active in preparing mischief. That 
Session was a stormy one, and ending in March, the Head-Quarters 
were retransf erred to Montreal. * * * * 

Soon after the navigation opened upon Lake Champlain, Capt. Pring, 
in the naval command there, sailed from Isle aux Noix with our 
notilla, then superior to that of the enemy, which had wintered in 
Otter Creek, where they had a ship-yard employed in constructing 
a force intended to surpass ours. Capt. Pring, in consequence, applied 
to Sir George for some troops to accompany him, with a view of 
attempting to destroy this establishment and the vessels in that creek, 
whether afloat or upon the stocks, which, next to Sackett's Harbour, 
was an object worth a trial at some risk. As usual, the application 
was refused. When Capt. Pring returned from his cruise up that 
creek, he reported to Sir George what might have been done by a 
joint attack, and then he was offered assistance, but the Captain 
replied that it was then too late, as the enemy had taken alarm and 
prepared accordingly. Sir George had the extraordinary fatality of 
either never attempting an active operation, or of thinking of it only 
when the time for practical execution was past." 

Here is a passage which, for style, may remind us of Kinglake or 
Sir William Napier; the incidents referred to will also probably 
interest us. "As the season for action advanced," Veritas says, "to 
the astonishment of everyone, there was formed at Chambly what is 
called a Camp of Instruction, comprising the greater part of the force 
above enumerated, and from which might and ought to have been 
detached a force for the attack of Sackett's Harbour, or for the rein- 
forcement of the Niagara frontier, seriously threatened as it then was 
(1814) with invasion, in the opinion of every person who had eyes to 
see or ears to hear. Had the first-mentioned object been attained, 
the enemy would not have ventured to cross into Upper Canada ; or 
if Sir George was obstinately bent on letting Sackett's Harbour alone, 
the reinforcement of the Niagara frontier became the more imperiously 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 23 

necessary to secure it against the enemy's accumulating force, which 
had been even seen by some of our officers in returning from captivity, 
but whose reports thereon were utterly disregarded. Thus the Camp 
above-said furnished the means of instruction to the enemy upon the 
said frontier, by allowing them to practise against our very inferior 
force ; but of destruction to our troops there employed, who were 
thereby doomed to combat against fearful odds, as will be seen here- 
after, which is quite inexcusable, seeing we had the means of pre- 
vention in our power j for so infatuated was Sir George that not a 
man was sent from Lower Canada to their aid until the 12th July, 
after our first disaster at Chippewa was known. * * . f 

From the end of May, reinforcements from Great Britain, Ireland 
and the West Indies came in ; but the accursed Camp of Instruction 
continued ; when to our astonishment, in June and July, such a 
numerous body of troops arrived from Bordeaux that it became 
evident Sir George was quite bewildered thereby. Piecemeal rein- 
forcements were now despatched to Upper Canada, and a very large 
force kept below to do something — but what it was remained doubt- 
ful, although a bustle of preparation began across the river, which 
was continued for months at infinite expense." I add one more 
passage : an indignant, Junius-like denunciation of certain speeches 
in the House of Commons, notably one by Mr. Whitbread, on the 
subject of the destruction of the public buildings at Washington by 
a British force, in which speeches more feeling was apparently shown 
for the loss experienced by the United States Government than for 
the sufferings of British subjects when violently deprived of their 
homes and property at York and Niagara, a few months previously, 
by an invading United States army. " Now, is it possible to con- 
ceive," Veritas asks, "that all these and former acts of conflagration 
and pillage could have happened without orders from the American 
Government 1 And yet if we had retaliated upon this principle in 
the Chesapeake, or elsewhere (which was completely in our power to 
have done), what an outcry would have been raised by Mr. Madison, 
and re-echoed by the Opposition in the Imperial Parliament, who, 
on finding themselves beat from their grounds of censure against our 
Government and officers for the destruction of the public buildings 
at Washington, when proved to have been merely retaliatory, then 
took up a new position equally untenable, viz., that it would have 
been magnanimous not to have followed the example of the Ameri- 



24 CANADIAN N0M8-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

cans in their conduct at York and Newark. Now, in common sense, 
what does such doctrine mean 1 Do these mock-patriots reserve all 
their sympathies for the enemies of their country, and regard with 
callous indifference the sufferings of their fellow-subjects'? Are the 
latter not entitled to protection and consideration ; and as means of 
that protection, was it not incumbent upon our officers, and a point 
of justice, to turn against the enemy their own weapons, and thereby 
make them feel the consequences of their own enormity of conduct, 
with a view to prevent their repeating the like in future 1 It is very 
magnanimous, to be sure, to speak with cold-blooded indifference 
about the infliction of ruin upon friends, at the distance of 3,000 
miles, by lire and devastation in the most aggravated shapes ; but I 
will venture to say that if Mr. Whitbread's brewery and his princely 
mansion, with all their contents, had been at York or Newark, and 
shared the fate of the buildings there consigned to the flames by the 
enemy, we should never have heard of his lecture upon the virtue of 
magnanimity." 

It was by the aid of Sir Francis Hincks, now resident in Montreal, 
that my curiosity in regard to Veritas was at length gratified. Sir 
Francis took much interest in the inquiry, when it chanced to be 
proposed to him ; and he kindly applied for me to the present authori- 
ties of the Herald office, with the result already mentioned. "When 
now I supposed nothing further would come of the investigation, I 
unexpectedly received from Sir Francis the following communication, 
which sets the question at rest. The note is dated Montreal, 15th 
July, 1873. "By a very singular accident," Sir Francis writes, "I 
obtained a few moments ago the information which you wanted a 
few weeks since. Coming into toAvn this morning, I met Mr. J. S. 
McKenzie, one of our oldest and wealthiest citizens, lately a Director 
of the Bank of Montreal, and senior partner of one of our principal 
firms. He was talking of his age, and as having served in the war 
of 1812. It immediately occurred to me that he might know who 
Veritas was ; but at the moment I had forgotten this signature, and 
was only able to ask if he recollected a criticism on Sir George 
Prevost's operations. ' Certainly/ he said, ' it was signed Veritas, 
and was written by the Hon. John Richardson, with whom I was a 
clerk in the old house of Forsyth, Richardson & Co.' Mr. Richardson 
was a very likely man to have written such an article," Sir Francis 
adds, " and Mr. McKenzie was quite clear on the point. I think. 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 25 

therefore, you may be satisfied. I had overlooked Mr. McKenzie, 
who is one of our octogenarians." 

The most concise way in which I can explain who Mr. Richardson, 
the writer of the letters signed " Veritas" was, will be to copy the 
inscription on a marble tablet on the outer wall of the " Richardson 
Wing " of the General Hospital at Montreal. It reads as follows : — 
" This building was erected A.D. 1852, to commemorate the public 
and private virtues of the Hon. John Richardson, a distinguished 
merchant of this City, and Member of the Executive and Legislative 
Councils of the Province. He was the first President of this Hos- 
pital, and a liberal contributor to its foundation and support. He 
was born at Portsoy, North Britain, and died 18th May, 1831, aged 
76 years." 

Veritas closes his series of letters with this paragraph : " It was 
my intention to have given also a sketch of Sir George's civil adminis- 
tration ; but reflecting that it has been already so ably depicted by 
Nerva, in his admirably written allegory, I shall for the present not 
prosecute that intention." The "allegory" of Nerva was contained 
in a series of letters, professedly on Irish affairs, addressed to the 
Herald, in which Canada was adumbrated by Ireland, Sir George 
Prevost by Earl Fitzwilliam, and Sir George's predecessor, Sir James 
Craig, by Lord Westmoreland. Sir George's marked policy of con- 
ciliation as a civil governor is therein roundly condemned, but 
evidently from the point of view of a narrow conservatism : a policy, 
it must be remembered, enjoined by Sir George's masters in England, 
with distinct reference to the immediate crisis, when Canada was 
about to be exposed to an invasion, and required for its safety a 
people, so far as possible, united. " Between two systems of govern- 
ment proposed for adoption," Nerva observes, " theorists may often 
find it difficult to determine the claims to preference ; because the 
peculiar defects of each may be compensated by peculiar advantages ; 
but where a system of government is already established, there are 
certain rules for its exercise from which the experience of practical 
politicians will pronounce all deviation to be improper and hazardous. 
Of these rules, the most universally admitted is, that all changes 
should be gradual, not abrupt ; should be necessary, not experimental. 
But Earl Fitzwilliam began his innovations upon his entrance into 
office, without waiting to ascertain whether Lord Westmoreland's 
measures were adapted to the situation of the country ; without in- 



26 CANADIAN N0MS-DE-PLU3IE IDENTIFIED. 

deed knowing what the situation of the country required, or whether 
a sudden change, even from what might originally have been impro- 
per, would not produce greater evil than that which it should be 
intended to correct. His proper path had indeed been marked out 
for him, and every obstruction and difficulty removed by Lord West- 
moreland, whose labours, had they been turned to advantage, would 
have enabled his successor to pursue, with perfect ease and safety, a 
course at once consistent with his own honour and with the dignity 
of his government. Yet these advantages were overlooked or despised 
by the Earl, who, like some rulers in whom vanity has predominated 
over judgment, disdained to govern in any respect according to the 
prescription or example of another. In consequence, he was speedily 
surrounded by men of principles avowedly inimical to the just and 
long-established prerogatives of the Crown, who were the objects of 
his peculiar notice, and most graciously received at his table and his 
court. Situations of trust and power were accumulated upon indivi- 
duals unknown before in departments of State, and incapable as well 
as regardless of the performance of their official duties ; while their 
rapacity was so insatiable as to force from the unwilling Viceroy 
himself the observation, that if England and Ireland were given to 
them as estates, they would ask for the Isle of Man as a kitchen 
garden. A viceroy, with the assistance of associates, dependants and 
companions of so unusual a cast, it would be natural to expect would 
differ in principle and in action from most representatives of royalty. 
And the event fully justified the expectation. The conciliation of 
the worthless became his primary object; and concession was con- 
sidered the principal means." 

Nerva, whose letters, like those of Veritas, were re-published in 
a collected form, after their appearance in the Herald, was Mr. 
Justice Gale, who died at Montreal in 1865. These productions 
thus acquired a more than temporary circulation and influence. In 
regard to the strictures of Veritas, we read among the miscellaneous 
editorial matter of the Herald of August 12th, 1815, the following 
item : " Persons living at a distance are informed that the whole of 
the impressions of ' Veritas Letters ' are sold. We give this 
notice in order to save correspondents the expense of postage. We 
understand an edition is now printing at Halifax. Veritas was 
uncommonly well received in that city." 

The editor and printer of the Herald were both prosecuted by the 
Government. In the number of that journal for March 11, 1815, 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 27 

we have the announcement that " On Monday last [this would be 
March 5] the Grand Jury for this District found a bill of indictment 
against the printer of this paper for a libel on the Commander-in- 
Chief. On Wednesday [this would be the 7th], two bills were found 
against the Editor for the same offences. To all the charges con- 
tained in the indictments the defendants pleaded Not Guilty. They 
readily found security to appear in another term for trial." We 
have no notice given us in subsequent journals of the issue of the 
prosecution. It may have been dropped in consequence of the death 
of Sir George Prevost in January, 1816. 

Mr. Mungo Kay, the editor, and Mr. W. Gray, the printer, did 
not betray the confidence placed in them by the pseudonymous writers 
in their journal, except in one instance. It happened that Mr. 
Sewell, the Solicitor-General, whose duty it became to conduct the 
proceedings against the alleged libellers, had himself on two occa- 
sions, under the nom-de-plume of Colonist, contributed articles to 
the Herald which could be interpreted as censure on the Commander- 
in-Chief. As, in the opinion of the editor and printer, Mr. Sewell 
exhibited an over- zeal in pressing the case against them, by summon- 
ing the employes of the printing office to give evidence, they con- 
sidered themselves at liberty to disclose to Sir George Prevost the 
authorship of the particular articles referred to, and this led to the 
removal of Mr. Sewell from the Solicitor-Generalship. The result 
of the prosecution was thus probably more serious to him than to 
any one else ; his official advancement receiving on the occasion a 
fatal check. 

Contemporary with Veritas and Nerva in the volumes of the 
Herald was a writer who signed himself Le Bon Vieux Temps. He 
was an exponent of the views of the loyally-disposed French Cana- 
dians in regard to the politics of the day. I have not been able to 
trace satisfactorily the authorship of the letters thus subscribed. 
They have been attributed to a Yiger and a Quesnel. 

In 1843 Sir Charles Metcalfe succeeded Sir Charles Bagot in the 
Governor-Generalship of Canada. Responsible Government had not 
long been conceded ; and the Governors themselves had not yet quite 
cordially come into the system. Their view of their own responsi- 
bility to the Crown and people of England conflicted in some degree 
with the theory of Responsible Government as understood by Cana- 
dians. Sir Charles Metcalfe, though nominally accepting Responsible 



28 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME. IDENTIFIED. 

Government, found himself in antagonism with its warmest sup- 
porters. Possessed of a strong will, he wished to rule as well as 
reign ; and, probably, could he have had, consistently with the new 
theory, his own way in the management of public affairs, the common 
weal would not have suffered ; for he was a highly-gifted, excellent, 
and most benevolent-minded man. But the amour propre of Cana- 
dian statesmen, just beginning to rejoice in the newly-acquired right 
of self-government, was quickly offended by Sir Charles' too frequent 
interposition of his own individual judgment. 

Legion's letters were a sharp attack upon Sir Charles Metcalfe's 
mode of administering the Canadian government, and a vindication 
of the view taken of the reformed Canadian constitution by the 
Liberal party. Nominally they were a reply to a series of letters by 
Dr. Egerton Eyerson, in defence of Sir Charles Metcalfe's ideas; and 
it was during the course of this discussion that Legion fastened on 
his opponent the curious soubriquet of Leonidas ; not, as I have seen 
it alleged, because his antagonist had adopted that name as a nom-de- 
plume, but simply because, when rushing to the protection of the 
Governor-General, he chanced to liken himself to the Spartan hero.* 
I need not go further into the particulars of this renowned encounter. 
I will simply give a specimen or two of Legion's flowing, oratorical 
style. I first quote a short passage, which disposes of the nom-de- 
plume theory of the origin of " Leonidas " as a soubriquet, and also 
explains why Legion himself adopted the obviously objectionable 
signature which appears at the close of his letters : " Had he [his 
opponent] signed himself the Doctor, or Leonidas, or Three Hundred 
Spartans, or Wesley, or Fletcher, or Robert Hall, or Chalmers, I 
should have been spared the necessity for this letter," Legion says ; 
" but he [his opponent] has placed his name and his former conduct 
before the public as bearing upon the matter at issue, and as adding 
weight to his arguments. I could not, therefore, as he says, pass it 

* The passage referred to occurs at p. iv. of the Introductory Notice, dated Cobourg, May 27, 
1S44, prefixed to " Sir Charles Medcalfe Defended against the Attacks of his late Counsel- 
lors." "Mr. Ryerson has not thought proper, under present circumstances, to accept the 
oflioe of Superintendent of Education ; nor has any political office ever been offered to him. 
And he i.s ready to relinquish any situation which he now fills rather than not accomplish this 
imperative undertaking. For if a Leonidas and three bundled Spartans could throw them- 
selves into the Thermopylae of death for the salvation of their country, it would ill become one 
humble Canadian to hesitate at any sacrifice, or shrink from any responsibility, or even danger, 
in older to prevent his own countrymen from rushing into a vortex which, he is most certainly 
persuaded, will involve many of them in calamities more serious than those which followed the 
events of 1S37." 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 29 

over; nor would it have been courteous to treat his name and his 
inducements as nothing. I think it a piece of misjudged egotism to 
mix the name of a public writer up with his arguments ; it always is 
calculated to mislead, and at the best is loss of time, and of printing 
materials, which now bid fair to be too much in request to be wasted. 
The above are my sentiments, Sir," the writer says to the editor of 
the Examiner, the journal in which the letters first appeared, "but 
as they are aiso the opinion of hundreds of thousands as good loyal 
Canadians, I have no right to the monopoly. I therefore, Sir, with 
all deference to your readers, subscribe myself your and their humble 
servant, Legion — for We are Many." I now quote an elaborate dis- 
crimination between despotism and constitutional government, with 
an ironical statement of the merits of the former under certain 
circumstances, and a repudiation of the doctrine that rulers in free 
countries can proceed safely and satisfactorily without having regard 
to public opinion and considerations of party. "A party may be 
defined for our present purpose," Legion observes, " as a number of 
persons professing an opinion or opinions in which they agree ; oppo- 
site parties, as two parties each respectively agreeing amongst its 
own members, and opposing the opinion or opinions of the other 
party. As the whole of a community is rarely of one opinion, the 
Opinion of the majority, or of those forming the largest party, is, for 
the purpose of government, said to be public opinion ; at least it is 
the opinion which for all practical purposes must be taken to be 
public opinion. What is just, and right, and good," Legion goes on 
to say, " may be the object of a despotic as well as of a free govern- 
ment. No one dreams of alleging that absolute power in the ruler 
is inconsistent with good government. All I need maintain is, that 
absolute power in the ruler is inconsistent with all our notions of 
free institutions. An absolute ruler may, with the best intentions, 
look within his own breast for the rules of right and wrong — to his 
own reason for his policy ; and if his mind be better constituted, 
and his means of information greater than that of all others, his 
government may be better and wiser than any government influenced 
by popular opinion. To such a potentate, it is true praise to say of 
him that he possessed an inflexible determination to administer his 
government without regard to party, because the opinions which 
make parties are beneath his consideration. He judges, he thinks, 
he rules for himself; he puts down public opinion, for it is but an 



30 CANADIAN NOMS-DE- PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

impediment in his way; and he rules irrespective of party, b?cause 
to him public opinion is as nothing. But just in proportion as the 
form of a government is removed from a despotism, disregard of pub- 
lic opinion becomes a crime in a ruler, and ceases to be a subject for 
eulogy. And he who administers a Government free and popular in 
its form, without regard to public opinion or to party opinions, call 
it which we please, is a violator of the constitution he is bound to 
uphold, and insincere in his professions of attachment to that con- 
stitution. Swift, in ridiculing party divisions, describes the kingdom 
of Lilliput as divided into two parties, one of whom wore low heels 
to their shoes, the other high heels ; and if Sir Charles Metcalfe had 
been made Governor of Lilliput, he might have governed its diminu- 
tive inhabitants without regard to their heels, and have chosen his 
councillors from both parties indifferently, caring nothing for their 
disputes, and despising their party differences ; but who would allege 
that he was influenced by public opinion, or that he was administer- 
ing Responsible Government 1 It is, however, just as a pigmy people 
that Sir Charles has always regarded Canadians, and it is with this 
view that he takes to himself the praise of inflexible determination; 
but the inflexible determination of a ruler under the British Constitu- 
tion is national determination; and personal determination which 
opposes this, is despotism. The threat to employ whatever force 
may be necessary to enforce it, is tyranny ; and the pretence that it 
is consistent with Responsible Government is hypocrisy." On Sir 
Charles' alleged resolve to act officially without the concurrence of 
his Executive Council, Legion thus remarks : " Charity may once 
have ascribed his invasion of the Constitution of this country to 
ignorance of British constitutional usage ; but time has removed the 
veil, and he must now be considered either as the originator, or the 
instrument of a design to defeat and put down Responsible Govern- 
ment in Canada. If Canadians value Responsible Government, they 
cannot give way. They must use every constitutional means of 
asserting their rights, till they obtain them fully. If they do not 
value British freedom, or if Dr. Ryerson has been able to frighten 
them with his bugbear of " Royal Proclamations and Military Pro- 
visions," let them kneel down and ask pardon for the presumption of 
their Parliament, and let the reign of favouritism and intrigue con- 
tinue. If Canadians have not the spirit of British subjects, let them 
be the servants of servants they deserve to be ; but if they have any 



CANADIAN" NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 31 

wish for peace and quietness as the fruit of ignominious vassalage, 
let them petition for the abolition of the Provincial Parliament, which 
cannot exist without constantly reminding them of their degrada- 
tion. There may be something noble in political slavery ; but 
political slavery with the forms of freedom is 7 to all intents and pur- 
poses, wretched and utterly despicable." 

The letters of Legion were from the pen of Robert Baldwin Sulli- 
van, afterwards one of the judges of the Queen's Bench, and pre- 
viously a member of successive Governments before and after the 
union of the Canadas. The author of the letters of Legion was 
wont in his younger clays to contribute papers of a humorous and 
playful character to the literary periodicals of the day. In Sibbald's 
Canadian Magazine, published at York (Toronto) in 1833, are to 
be seen communications of his under the nom-de-plume of "China." 
I select a passage from an amusing " Essay on Roads," by China.* 
" This being an introductory essay," the writer says, "it is fit that I 
explain that my remarks will not be confined to mere terrestrial 
roads ; they will, indeed, be principally directed to those mental high- 
ways along which the glorious march of intellect is conducted, or 
rather driven with such steam-engine impetuosity. The schoolmaster 
is abroad, they say ; and, indeed, for any use he is of, may so re- 
main ; learning is acquired nowadays without his assistance. The 
road to the temple of Fame has been levelled and macadamized; and 
there are rumours of a railway and a canal. This last, to be sure, is 
opposed by some old sober-sided fools, who think that the ancient 
institutions at the top of the hill, and which have been erected with 
so much labour, will slide into the deep cut which would be necessary 
to bring the canal down to ditch-water level ; but suppose they do, 
who cares'? Is it not better to go on a fow;-path over their ruins, 
than be threatened with a hempen one, into the other world, for try- 
ing to undermine them 1 When I was a little boy, my grandmother 
thought me a youth of talents rare when I learned my letters ; and 
to say the truth, my talons were often made to look as rare as an 
Abyssinian beefsteak before I acquired so much learning. I then 
stuck so long in orthography, that one would think I was spell- 
bound. Oh ! if I had only waited till now, when grown up gentle- 
men and ladies are taught writing in six short lessons. I might in a 

* Of a later date is the "Cinna" of Barker's Canadian Magazine and the Kingston British 
Whig, understood to have been W. B. Wells, Esq., now County Judge of Kent. 



32 CANADIAN NOJIS- DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

week have been a literate person, and so branded by Act of Parlia- 
ment. I might then, indeed, have served my friends, who now say I 
am a burden to them, with writs of ca-re and fiery faces, like Mr. 
Underbill ; or perhaps I migh fc have been an attorney and then my 
clients would give me instructions, and pay besides ; and no one 
could say my education would not be finished some time or other, 
unless, indeed, it is possible that my aforesaid instructions might 
happen to be never dun ! which is, it must be acknowledged, very 
unlikely." In the same Canadian Magazine are some poetic pieces 
from the hand of Cinna, humorous and serious, which I shall 
presently notice. He explains in the following manner, in one of his 
papers, how he first came to send the editor a communication in 
prose : — " I was sitting," he says, " one evening with my friend 'Sae 
Bald' (so the editor Sibbald resolved his name on the covers of the 
Magazine), who everybody knows to be the proprietor of the Maga- 
zine, and I was reciting to him, as I thought most beautifully, some 
cantos of my great epic poem, in which I flatter myself I have 
excelled most poets in making the sound agree with the sense. The 
canto contained a sublime and musical description of the baying of a 
kennel full of hounds by moonlight ; and of course the verse seemed 
to echo the voices of the interesting animals who thus sang in concert 
with the music of the spheres. The passage I was reading, notwith- 
standing the splendour of the lunar orb, was a dark one ; and I was 
indulging myself in the hope that T had excelled even my companion 
' Sae Bald ' in the obscurity of his style, when I was awakened from 
my pleasing dream by his suddenly interrupting me. Laying down 
his glass, ' Cinna, moil,' says he, ' will ye just hand me the nutmeg?' 
This spicy gale quite shipwrecked the bark of my dogs, and oh ! how 
that cinnamon and nutmeg grated on my feelings 1 But think not, 
reader, that my friend does not understand and feel poetry, particu- 
larly such as mine. The truth was, I had chosen my time badly. 
The printer's imp stood behind his chair. ' Cinna,' said Sae Bald, 
1 what for do ye no gie us some prose for the Mogazeen % Yon deevil 
of a printer is in an unco hurry for matter, an' he says, nae matter 
how I get it, it maun be furnish et directly.' 'And I suppose,' said 
I, snappishly, ' you cannot furnish it directly if your materials are 
inverse.' " I close China's prose with two anecdotes which he contrives 
to bring in. (The " Bed Lion " is still in being in Yorkville ; it 
used to be- known, from the name of the well-known proprietor and 
manager, as Tiers' Tavern. It should have been mentioned above 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. SS 

that the Underbill there named was a well-known local bailiff.) "An 
old acquaintance of mine/' China writes, " the landlord of the Red 
Lion, who was a jolly fellow, although his name was Tiers (what his 
wife's was before marriage is now forgotten, for Tiers dropped upon 
the word and — blotted it out for ever !), puzzled a gentleman sorely in 
my presence, by telling him that he, Tiers, was tired of public lift, and 
must retire from the bar. And I myself," Cinna adds, "was once can- 
vassing for a seat in Parliament, and applied to an Irish friend to 
let me have some wild land, that being considered the only qualifica- 
tion necessary in a member. I began by telling my friend, in the 
elevated and patriotic style which the election time produces, that I 
was desirous of having a stake in the country. 'Then,' says he, 'you 
had better go to old Ireland for that same, for the never a steak 
you'll get in this country fit to ait, for love or money.' " Outrageous 
puns, it will be observed, form the staple of these papers. Some 
playful verses from the same hand, in the manner of Hood, and 
similarly characterized, are to be seen also in Sibbald's Magazine. 
As a specimen, I give a few lines from a ballad of thirty-two stanzas. 
Tom Scalpel, a medical student, abstracts from a dissecting-room the 
head and arms of a dead body. The deed is thus described : — 

" Says Tom, although the sky don't fall 

I think I'll have a lark ; 
This kind of lark, they fly by night ; 

So Tom got out of bed, 
And took his steel and stole two arms, 

And bagged the subject's head ; 
Like other folks that take to arms, 

He took to legs and run, 
Although he heard no shot, ere half 

His heavy task was done." 

The grotesque consequences of the action are then detailed at 
length, in language ingeniously tortured. Having a house to haunt, 
the spirit to which the "subject" appertained is inconvenienced by 
the absence of the missing parts : — 

"And then spoke up this grisly ghost, 

* An't this a pretty job ? 
That I am without arms or head — 

Just like an Irish mob.' " &c. &c. 

To these extracts I subjoin one passage, in which the writer of the 
Letters of Legion, and of the productions subscribed " Cinna," speaks 
in his own proper person. It is from an "Address on Immigration 
3 



34 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

and Colonization," delivered in the Mechanics' Institute, Toronto, 
1847. Jt will be seen that in 1847 he had a very clear view of 
the capabilities of the then almost wholly undeveloped North-West. 
"I dare say by this time," Mr. Sullivan said, in the course of his 
address, " I have established my character for being visionary and 
over-ardent, and impatient; but I have to lead you yet farther. Just 
take the map of Canada — but no ! that will not do ; take the map of 
North America, and look to the westward of that glorious inland 
sea, Lake Superior. I say nothing of the mineral treasures of its 
northern shores, or those of our own Lake Huron, but I ask you to 
go with me to the head of Lake Superior, to the boundary line. You 
will say it is a cold journey ; but I tell you the climate still improves 
as you go westward. At the head of Lake Superior we surmount a 
height of land, and then descend into the real garden of the British 
possessions, of which so few know anything. Books tell you little of 
the country, and what they do say will deceive and mislead you. I 
tell you what I have heard directly from your townsman, Mr. Angus 
Bethune, and indirectly from Mr. Ermatinger, very lately from that 
country : — A little to the westward of Lake Superior is Lake Win- 
nipeg, and into Lake Winnipeg runs the Saskatchewan River. It 
takes its rise in the Rocky Mountains, and the Lake Winnipeg dis- 
charges its waters towards and into Hudson's Bay. This river runs 
from west to east fifteen hundred miles without an obstruction ; it is 
navigable for boats carrying ten or twelve tons. It runs through a 
country diversified with prairie, rich grass, clumps of forest, and on 
one of the branches of the river are coal-beds, out of which coal can 
be obtained by any one with a spade in his hand, or without ; and 
the plains are covered with the wild buffalo of America. I am told 
that you may drive a waggon from one end to the other of the 
country of the Saskatchewan ; and I am told, moreover, that it is 
superior in soil and equal in climate to any part of Canada, and that 
it produces wheat, barley, oats, potatoes — in short, all the crops of 
temperate climates — in abundance." Now that Manitoba has been 
•organized, and a beneficent civilization is beginning to spread itself 
•thence far out over the broad Saskatchewan valleys, destined soon to 
meet influences of a similar kind emanating from British Columbia, 
the forecasts of a thoughtful, ardent mind in regard to these regions 
some thirty years ago are interesting to read ; and they may help us 
-to realize and measure the progress — material, social, and moral — 
which has been made in that interval of time. 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 35 

[My specimens of the writings of Patrick Swift should have pre- 
ceded those given of the productions of Legion and Cinna.] 

About the year 1826 or 1827, there appeared in the Colonial 
Advocate, a well-known Canadian paper of the day, a name which 
became subsequently a nom-de-plume of great note, if not notoriety, 
in Upper Canada. In the first instance, I believe, Patrick Swift 
figured simply as an interlocutor in an imaginary conference on 
public affairs, held in a private parlour at Toronto, or York, as the 
place was then called. But he afterwards appeared as the supposed 
compiler of a remarkable almanac, which for several successive years 
found its way into probably every house in Upper Canada. This 
publication had a purpose, independently of the use implied by its 
title. It was intended to advocate a radical reform in the govern- 
ment of the country. Patrick Swift addressed himself especially to 
the yeomen voters of Canada ; and his pages bristled, not only with 
statistics of almost every kind, but with grievances and abuses, 
curtly and pointedly stated. At the same time the remedies were 
named as clearly and as plentifully. On looking calmly back now 
on the times in which this almanac was issued, we shall all allow 
that Mr. Patrick Swift was not so bad a counsellor of the public as 
he was once represented to be. Borrowing an idea from Benjamin 
Franklin, the earlier numbers of this publication were entitled 
" Poor Richard, " with the secondary heading of " The Yorkshire 
Almanac," with reference possibly to the Canadian county of York, 
in which York or Toronto was situated. The name of the author 
or editor is given on the title-page, thus: "Patrick Swift, late of 
Belfast, in the Kingdom of Ireland, Esq., F.R.I., grand-nephew of 
the celebrated Doctor Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, 
etc. etc." In later issues it appears as " Patrick Swift, Esq., M.P.P., 
Professor of Astrology, York." The Almanac for 1834 has dropped 
the " Poor Richard," and also the reference to " Yorkshire," and 
exhibits the fuller title of " A New Almanac for the Canadian True 
Blues, with which is incorporated the Constitutional Reformer's Text 
Book, for the Millennial and Prophetical year of the Grand General 
Election for Upper Canada, and total and everlasting downfall of 
Toryism in the British Empire." 

I now proceed to give a specimen or two of Patrick Swift's style 
as a propagandist of Reform. After giving a long and most minute 
enumeration of taxes imposed in England, Scotland and Ireland, he 



36 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

tells the Canadian yeomanry : "In short, everything that has an 
existence on the face of the earth, or under the earth, or in the 
firmament of heaven, is heavily taxed ; and these enormous taxes 
are laid on and expended by a body called the House of Commons, 
the majority of the members of which are neither directly nor indi- 
rectly the representatives of the people, but are the nominees of 
lords, bishops, and wealthy gentlemen. So that, if the representa- 
tives of every great county, city and populous borough in England, 
Ireland and Wales, were to vote for a reduction of standing armies, 
tithes and taxes, and for retrenchment and economy, the rotten 
borough and Scots close county members could and would outvote 
them, and uphold corruption. Yorkshiremen in Upper Canada," 
Swift exclaims, " think on these things ! Laws grind the poor, 
when rich men make the laws." This, it must be noted, was written 
in 1831. 

Then, after an analysis of the Upper Canada Parliament of 1831, 
showing the nationality of each of its fifty members and the num- 
bers represented by each member respectively, he points out an injus- 
tice which seems to result from the existing distribution of seats : 
" The population of Upper Canada," he says, " is estimated at 215,750, 
which is under the actual number of souls. Assuming the fact," he 
continues, " that the property is in proportion to the population, and 
then taking population as the basis of representation, fifty members 
would give one representative to every 4,315 inhabitants. But, 
a ceo i ding to the present mode of proportioning the members, the 
minority pass laws to bind the majority. For : The members of the 
4 towns, and for the counties of Simcoe, Durham, Essex, Kent, 
Went worth, Norfolk, Oxford, Stormont, Dundas, Ottawa, Haldi- 
rnand, Frontenac, and Hastings, are in number 26 — the population, 
they represent being 70,500 — while the remaining counties of the 
province, containing 145,250 inhabitants, are represented by only 24 
members, or less than half the house. Thus the representatives of 
less than one-third of the people are more in number than the repre- 
sentatives of the other two-thirds. Again : the counties of Norfolk, 
Dundas, Hastings, Erontenac, Simcoe, Haldimand, and Essex, and 
the towns of Brockville and Niagara, with half the county of Dur- 
ham, possess a population of 33,250, and send 15 members to the 
House of Assembly — while the counties of York and Carleton, with 
a population of 33,500, send only three members ; so that, if by a 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 37 

popular legislative body it is meant to obtain an expression of public 
opinion on matters of government, the three votes of Messrs. Morris, 
Ketchum and Mackenzie are a greater indication thereof than the 
fifteen votes given for the places before mentioned." 

In the Almanac of 1834 an elaborate scheme is presented for a 
thorough organization of the Reformers of Upper Canada. Direc- 
tions are given for the formation of " Central Committees, Town, 
County and Provincial Conventions, and Regular Nominations," as 
" the sure legal Weapons by which Reformers may Triumph." The 
closing exhortation is : "It must not discourage the Reformers of 
any township, if they happen to find themselves in the minority as 
compared to the other inhabitants. Let them meet, few and small 
as they may be, and observe the above usages, the same as if they 
counted thousands. Time, which does much, is in their favour : they 
may be sure that Upper Canada will form no exception to the other 
parts of this continent : liberal principles must prevail : freedom is 
indigenous in our soil." To the whole document is quaintly added : 
" Sic svhscribitur. Patrick Swift." 

A brief summary of principles given just before will be of inte- 
rest, as it will be seen that all of them have been accepted and 
incorporated in our existing provincial constitutions, with the excep- 
tion of the one which Patrick Swift himself at the moment did not 
care to press. " The Reformers," he says, " are to be known by 
their principles, which are : the control of ^ the whole revenue to be 
in the people's representatives; the Legislative Council to be elective; 
the representation of the House of Assembly to be as equally pro- 
portioned to the population as possible ; the Executive Government 
to incur a responsibility ; the law of primogeniture to be abolished ; 
the principle of Mr. Perry's Jury Bill to be adopted ; the Judiciary 
to be independent ; the Military to be in strict subordination to the 
Civil authority ; equal rights to the several members of the commu- 
nity ; evevy vestige of church-and-state union to be done away ; the 
lands and all the revenues of the country to be under the control of 
the country; and education to be widely, carefully, and impartially 
diffused. To these I would add that we ought to choose our own 
Governors ; but I know that there are some Reformers who have 
not made up their minds upon that question : I therefore advise it 
be not pressed." In regard to the exception named, he expressed 
himself in another part of the Almanac, thus : " Patrick Swift 



38 CANADIAN NOMS-DE- PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

would very willingly exchange General Colborne for a Governor such 1 
as is pictured in the following anecdote : A late number of the 
London Courier contains the following extract of a letter from 
America : ' I am travelling in Vermont State for pleasure and infor- 
mation. I have journeyed 500 miles in my own carriage, by easy 
stages, and have not seen a single person in my progress to whom I 
should have dared to offer alms ! As I was detained an hour or two 
a few days since, I saw a sturdy-looking farmer pass the inn, driving 
a one-horse cart loaded with wool, on which he was seated. He 
drove to a store, shouldered his bales of wool, one after another, 
and placed them in the merchant's shop. Who do you think he was 1 
Palmer, the present Governor of the State of Vermont.' " This story 
would, of course, be well relished by the majority of those for whom 
the Almanac was prepared. The second edition of the number for 
1834 has an exasperating dedication. It is addressed to three gen- 
tlemen who were the writer's most formidable political antagonists ; 
two of them in England, one here. It reads thus : "To E. G. Stanley 
and R. W. Hay, Secretaries of State for the North American Colo- 
nies, and John Beverley Robinson, Judge and Tory Politician, at 
York, in Upper Canada, to whose uniform support of oppression 
and misrule in Church and State, and steady friendship for Canada's 
and Ireland's oppressors, the public are chiefly indebted for this 
extra edition of twenty thousand ' Canadian True Blue Almanacs : ' 
it is specially dedicated and inscribed by their trusty and well- 
beloved cousin and councillor, Pat. Swift." " E. G. Stanley " was 
subsequently the well-known Earl of Derby. It is scarcely necessary 
to mention, after all this, that Mr. Patrick Swift was Mr. William 
Lyon Mackenzie, editor of the Colonial Advocate, and many times 
elected a member of the Provincial Parliament of Upper Canada. 

[My notice of "Reckoner," "Mentor" and " Mercator," should 
have been inserted before, among the writers on miscellaneous 
subjects.] 

I regret that I am unable to give a sample of " Reckoner," the- 
author of seventy essays on various subjects, said to have appeared 
in the Kingston Gazette, circa 1811. This writer was the Rev. Dr. 
Strachan, while yet a resident at Cornwall. I have seen communi- 
cations from the same pen, in the Christian Recorder and the Cana- 
dian Magazine, signed N. N., the finals of the writer's real name. 
I must record also the pseudonym of " Mentor," appended to a series 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 39 

of letters in the Kingston Herald, 1839-44, afterwards collected 
in pamphlet form. They are a contribution to the literature of 
Canadian jurisprudence on the subject of discrepancies in lines of 
survey, arising from variations in the magnetic needle in successive 
years; a curious and dry subject, but yet of much interest, in 
Canada, to the numerous patentees and grantees of land, and even 
affording occasion now and then for a rhetorical burst, as, for 
example, here : " This province was the asylum," Mentor says, " pro- 
vided by his Majesty George the Third, of revered memory, for 
faithful and attached subjects, who, after their settlement in a wild 
and uncultivated wilderness, soon experienced the liberality of a 
generous and just sovereign. His munificent donations of land, in 
compensation for their losses in property, and supplies for the three 
first years of the settlement, amidst obstacles and difficulties nearly 
insuperable, are not equalled in the history of any people or nation 
under any other government. With a recollection of these rewards, 
and under a sense of their legal and just rights, the author, under 
the signature of Mentor, is fully aware and sensible that the Loyal- 
ists, their heirs and descendants, do and will regard usurped occu- 
pancy, and illegal possession, and encroachment upon their patented 
rights and estates, with feelings of indignation and discontent to- 
wards the holders by injustice and spoliation ; but towards the 
Government they will cherish the feelings of gratitude and loyalty ; 
and moreover, they will justly appreciate the legacy of land left to 
them by their fathers, and to which they will adhere with associa- 
tions of fond attachment." "Mentor" is understood to have been 
the Rev. George Okill Stuart, heir to lot 24 in the first concession of 
Seigniory No. 1. (afterwards known as the township of Kingston), 
as surveyed by Deputy Surveyor-General Collins, in 1783. 

The series of letters signed " Mercator," addressed to the Montreal 
Herald in 1807, in the "Contest between the Earl of Selkirk and 
the Hudson's Bay Company on the one side, and the North West 
Company on the other," and afterwards issued in pamphlet form, was 
from the pen of the Right Hon. Edward Ellice. 

I notice next one or two writers under pseudonyms whose object 
was the promotion of emigration and the instruction of emigrants. 
I enclose them in my list, however, not on this account, but because 
the productions themselves, being of a superior character in point of 
matter and style, may be said to have entered into our Canadian 



40 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

literature. First I name the ' ; Backwoodsman," author of a volume 
entitled " Statistical Sketches of Upper Canada ;" published in Lon- 
don by John Murray, Albemarle Street, in 1832, but dated from 
Goderich, on Lake Huron. The nine chapters of the little work are 
tilled with useful statistics and matter-of-fact information, but all 
cleverly spiced throughout with pleasant humour. Backwoodsman 
undertook its composition because he was constantly in the receipt 
of inquiries, couched of course in polite terms, and expressing the 
writer's sincere sorrow for taking up so much of his valuable time : 
" After having filled some reams in answer," Backwoodsman says, 
"and when every other packet brought one, and no later than last 
week I had two to answer, things began to look serious, and so did I ; 
for I found that if they went on at this rate, I should have no ' valu- 
able time ' to devote to my own proper affairs. And therefore, it 
being now midwinter," Backwoodsman says, " and seeing no pros- 
pect of my being able to follow my out-of-door avocations for some 
weeks, I set myself down in something like a pet to throw together 
and put in form the more prominent parts of the information I had 
boen collecting, to the end that I might be enabled in future to answer 
my voluminous correspondents after the manner of the late worthy 
Mr. Abernethy, by referring them to certain pages of My Book." 

Here is one of Backwoodsman's reasons why emigrants from the 
British Islands should prefer Canada to the United States : 

"It is to many who happen to have consciences no light matter to 
forswear their allegiance to their king, and declare that they are 
willing to take up arms against their native country at the call of 
the country of their adoption ; and unless they do so, they must 
remain aliens for ever ; nay, even if they do manage to swallow such 
an oath, it is seven years before their apostasy is rewarded by the 
right of citizenship. In landing in His Majesty's dominions, they 
carry with them their rights of subjects, and, immediately on becoming 
40s. freeholders, have the right of voting for a representative." 

Some tables at the end of the volume, showing the resources and 
estimates of the Province of Upper Canada in the year 1832, would, 
if quoted at length, amuse probably as well as instruct, in these 
days when, to a Canadian minister of finance even in a province, 
such figures must seem a mere bagatelle. Here are Backwoodsman's 
conclusions on a review of these tables. He considers the prospects 
they hold out to be encouraging. He indulges, at the same time, in 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 41 

a little banter on the wisdom of the Upper House, which, it would 
seem, had just stopped the supplies, and that too at an inopportune 
moment. The remark about the consequent increase in the surplus 
is probably a joke. 

" From these statements it will appear," he says, " that the rev- 
enues of the colony are in a very flourishing state ; as last year we 
paid off 10 per cent, of the public debt, and this year, the Upper 
House having rejected the supplies on nearly the last day of the 
Session, when the mischief could not be remedied, it is probable the 
surplus will be considerably greater. It has been eloquently said of 
the Earl of Chatham, that he ' advanced the nation to a high pitch 
of prosperity and glory by commerce, for the first time united with, 
and made to flourish by war.' In like manner, though by no means 
Chathams, the legislators of Upper Canada have, for the first time I 
suspect, succeeded in uniting revenue with debt, and making it 
flourish by debt ; for it will be seen that the debts of the province 
have been contracted chiefly for the purposes of public improvement, 
and that the public works, as they develop themselves, will not only 
repay the money expended on them, but become a permanent source 
of revenue to the colony. Of the £47,490," he goes on to say, "of 
taxes raised on the subject, directly and indirectly, we may estimate 
that £10,000 is paid by the United States for British goods smug- 
gled across the frontiers, leaving £37,490 as the whole of the pro- 
vincial taxes to be paid by 300,000 people, — that is to say, in even 
money, about 2 shillings sterling a head. So that, it appears, Brother 
Jonathan, with all the apparent economy of his institutions, pays to 
his general and particular governments ten times as much as we do ; 
and unfortunate John Bull, who, poor fellow, is much worse able to 
afford it, just about twenty-five times as much." 

" Backwoodsman " was Dr. William Dunlop, a distinguished con- 
tributor to Blackwood and Fraser long before his settlement in 
Canada, — to the former, under the nom-de-plume of Colin Ballantyne, 
R.N. His early life was full of adventure in India, and, previously, 
on this continent, as a surgeon in the Connaught Rangers, during 
the war of 1812-13-14. He was also widely known by the sobri- 
quet of the Tiger, for his having succeeded in clearing the island of 
Saugur, in India, of that pest. Dr. Dunlop died at Lachine in 1848. 
A fine portrait of him exists in Toronto, the property of the late 
Capt. Dick. It was to be seen at the Queen's Hotel in Toronto. 



42 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

In 1849, a writer assuming the pseudonym of a "Pioneer of the 
Wilderness" produced two volumes of notes on Upper Canada, under 
the general title of " The Emigrant Churchman." Richard Bentley 
was the publisher. As a well drawn picture of western Canada at 
the time, it retains considerable value. " The Pioneer " was a man 
of superior education, a keen observer, and a skilful writer. Here 
is what he had to say of Brockville and the Thousand Islands : 
"A few miles steaming, after leaving Prescott, brought us to Brock- 
ville, which, to the author's taste, presents one of the prettiest and 
most interesting localities on the river side in all Canada. It is 
situated upon rather a steep bank, the approach to the town being 
prettily overshadowed by trees, amongst which the church stands a 
conspicuous object. A little further on, the river abounds with the 
prettiest rocky islets, most of them wooded more or less, among 
which, on a fine summer afternoon, the white sails of tiny pleasure- 
skiffs may be seen gleaming here and there, giving visions of health 
and innocent aquatic recreation. What a spot for a few Cambridge 
or Oxford eight-oars to turn out in ! The effect of the handsome 
boating uniforms of the crews, and perfect appointment of the galleys 
of Cam or Isis, with the gay blazonry of their silken ensigns floating 
in the wind, the boats dashing bravely up to their stations, or shoot- 
ing with racer-like velocity through the varied scene of isle and 
wooded bank and river, amidst the cheers of admiring thousands, 
was all that was wanting to complete the vision to the eye of an 
English University man. I am not aware," the Pioneer adds, 
" whether this right manly and gallant exercise is followed with any 
ardour by the University of Toronto. The open shores of Lake 
Ontario are wanting, however, in the diversity of beauty presented 
by the scenery around Brockville ; and while we yet muse we are 
dashing and splashing on till islet after islet, rocky and grove- 
crowned, sweeping into view in lovely and still varying succession, 
proclaims our approach to the far-famed Lake of the Thousand 
Islands. Of all the exquisite scenery that it has been the author's 
privilege to gaze upon, nothing that he can remember approaches 
this in beauty. As we shot through the open narrow and intricate 
channels of this watery paradise, the scene was reposing in all the 
luxurious softness of a gorgeous Canadian autumnal sunset. And as 
the glowing beams poured their bright torrents of radiance through 
natural watery vistas, or turned the liquid expanse to molten gold, 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 43 

the glorious islets seemed at times to float in light, realizing the 
dream of sone fairy scene of paradise. Sometimes we would shoot 
past a spot of exquisite beauty, almost touching the shore ; anon, 
just as our liquid pathway appeared entirely closed in, we would 
sweep off at an angle and open another unexpected channel, or catch 
a glimpse of the main-land as we wended by some bay of surpassing 
outline, heavily fringed with wood, all gloriously parklike to the 
water's side, holding forth happy visions of many a calm retreat and 
home of peace and love, when the axe and the plough of the colonist 
should have carved out an abode where the lines were fallen indeed 
in pleasant places. Around on the other side, a long sweep of a bay 
would open up towards the American shore, where it is too difficult 
at times to distinguish earth from water, or air from either, so softly 
were the lights and shadows blended ; and then the channel would 
narrow again, until at length we brought up to take in wood at the 
wild-looking settlement of Gananoque." 

This " Pioneer of the Wilderness," who travelled over the country 
with a bond fide intention of selecting a home within its borders, was 
a clergyman of the Church of England, named Rose. His decease 
occurred not long after his settlement here. 

Also, in 1849, there was published in London by David Bogue, 
Fleet Street, a volume of " Sketches of Canadian Life, Lay and 
Ecclesiastical" — -having on its title page, as the designation of its 
aafchor, " A Presbyter of the Diocese of Toronto." This was a work 
intended for the benefit and information of emigrants, not of the 
humblest class. It is a series of pictures, cleverly and vividly drawn 
from the life, linked together by means of a story, giving the sup- 
posed experiences of Harry Vernon, an English gentleman's fourth 
son, who takes a "lot" of land in a backwoods township called 
Monkleigh. The following passage describes an unfortunate species 
of settler, still perhaps not unknown in certain parts of Canada : 
" They were generally persons of education, and members of highly 
respectable families, who had been brought up to do nothing, and 
who, on arriving at man's estate, found that an occupation in which 
they could not afford to continue. As they found themselves fit for 
nothing in England, they, or their friends for them, resolved that 
Canada should have the benefit of their talents and usefulness ; but, 
alas ! in a majority of instances, those who were fit for nothing at 
home were observed to possess the very same characteristics abroad. 



44 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

Others of them, again, had acquired wild and repulsive habits, and 
after nearly rendering their fathers bankrupt, both in purse and 
patience, were sent out with a few hundred pounds to Canada, to 
reform and provide for themselves — a most sage and sagacious plan ! 
and one which, almost without an exception, was productive of but 
one result, namely, the utter ruin of the class alluded to. Freed 
entirely from all restraint, they gave way to the most miserable dis- 
sipation, and then wrote home romantic fictions of their exertions 
and good behaviour, in hopes thereby to ' do the governor' out of a 
fresh remittance. Many of these young men, under the impulse of 
novelty, set to work vigorously along with their men, but being 
utterly unaccustomed to such employments, the solitary charm which 
it possessed soon disappeared, and they were glad to seek excitement 
and amusement wherever it could be found. Almost the only place 
where it could be looked for was at each other's shanties, where they 
would frequently congregate," etc. " The Presbyter of the Diocese 
of Toronto," who embodied the results of his own observation in 
these truthful and graphic sketches, was the Re v. W. Stewart Darling. 
The educational question in Canada some thirty or forty years 
since presented a tangled web of difficulties to statesmen and philan- 
thropists. How to maintain with consistency the theories of public 
education which hitherto had been almost exclusively acted on in 
the mother country, and how at the same time to meet the evident 
necessities of the composite people which was rapidly taking posses- 
sion of British North America, was a problem discussed again and 
again, and the most gloomy consequences were foretold of varia- 
tion from established traditions and routine. Happily at last the 
solvitur ambulando method was applied to the question ; with the 
results — surely not disastrous — which we see around us at this 
day. Of the noms-de-plume attached to contemporary brochures on 
the subject of education of more than ordinary note, I select three : 
" Graduate," " Scotus," " British Canadian." Graduate's memorable 
brochure, entitled " The University Question Considered," appeared 
in 1845, and it essentially helped to defeat a bill which was brought 
into the House in that year affecting the charter of King's College. 
The sample which I give of Graduate speaks of the necessity of 
repose for the well-being of learned societies. I do not know, that 
the delightful dream indicated was ever realized by the learned society 
whose tranquillity was at the moment disturbed. " Frequent changes 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 45 

are injurious to any establishment," Graduate says, "but ruinous to 
a University. It is impossible that the objects of such an institu- 
tion can be attained if it be subjected to repeated modification. 
Alterations, if often introduced even by its own authorities, are 
most prejudicial to its welfare ; but the very anticipation of exter- 
nal interference in its management would produce the most mis- 
chievous effects. Non solum adventus mail, sed etiam metus ipse 
qffert calamitatem. Repose is absolutely essential to its success ; if 
disturbed, or even liable to be disturbed, it must fail. Its pursuits 
are such that they cannot be successfully prosecuted without peace 
and tranquillity. They require a devotion of the mind which cannot 
exist if apprehensions of change are constantly obtruding themselves, 
and every member of the establishment would feel the pernicious 
influence of this dread. The governing body would shrink from the 
responsibility of adopting any system as permanent which they knew 
not when they might be compelled to change ; the professors would 
be paralysed in the discharge of even their routine duties, and instead 
of enjoying the liberty, or feeling the inclination to prosecute the 
favourite subjects of their study during their leisure hours, would 
be reduced to the miserable necessity of employing them in efforts to 
conciliate or struggles to resist the spirit of innovation ; whilst the 
students would refuse to submit to discipline attempted to be en- 
forced by those whose authority they knew might be abrogated or 
superseded by a power capable of revolutionizing the whole system 
and establishment." The "Graduate" who thus, at a troubled period 
of our local history, urged on legislators and others the indispensable 
necessity of establishing tranquil surroundings for a seat of learning, 
is to be identified with the writer whom we have already seen, as 
" Maple-leaf," inaugurating amongst us a higher literature, the Rev. 
Dr. McCaul. 

A noticeable series of letters on educational topics appeared in the 
Hamilton Gazette about the year 1850, subscribed by the nom-de- 
plurne of Scotus. They were exceedingly well written, and deserved 
to be collected, as they were, in pamphlet form. They repay perusal 
still, being a valuable contribution, on the conservative side, of the 
vexed question of religious education. As a specimen of Scotus, I 
select a passage containing a view somewhat opposed to a popular 
notion on the subject of education ; and also the statement of a fact 
connected with Scotland which is not generally realized : 



46 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

" Iii order to raise up a national system of education in any coun- 
try," Scotus says, " instead of beginning at the bottom and ascending 
upwards, you must reverse the order and begin at the top and descend 
downwards; or, in other words, you must first erect a noble univer- 
sity, filling its chairs with men illustrious in science and literature, 
and thereby create in the public mind a taste for learning in its 
highest departments ; and afterwards, the inferior schools will follow 
as a matter of course. Or, to make use of a simile, the supplying of a 
country with education may be likened to the supplying of a great city 
with water, — the first step in the business is to erect a great reservoir 
or fountain-head, from which the lesser streams may be diffused in all 
quarters. The foundation on which I rest my argument is, I humbly 
conceive, sound and obvious. Literature and science are things for 
which there is naturally no demand, generally, in the public mind 
in any country. A taste for these refinements of civilization must, 
therefore, be first created by, as it were, a forcing process, and until 
that taste is so created, you may set about the erection of Common 
or District Schools till the end of time, but will find that all your 
labours have been vain and fruitless. * * * I am quite aware," 
Scotus then goes on to say, " that it is quite common to hear persons 
state, in reference to Scotland, that she owes all her education to her 
Parish Schools. A more ignorant assertion was never made. Scot- 
land, and I flatter myself I know her well, owes all her education, 
primarily, to her Universities ; and it may with safety be affirmed 
that had not these venerable fountain-heads of learning been first 
erected by the piety and munificence of her Kings and Churchmen, 
such an establishment as a parish school in Scotland would never 
have had an existence." 

Our Scotus was Mr. David Burn, formerly Deputy Registrar for 
the county of Wentworth. The pamphlet containing his collected 
letters is entitled " Colonial Legislation on the Subject of Education." 

I next mention the nom- de-plume of "British Canadian," attached 
to a long series of communications in the Hamilton Spectator some 
twenty years ago : treating ably of a great variety of public matters ; 
among them, of education. I give as a specimen of " British Cana- 
dian" a short extract, which will serve to show the agitated state of 
the public mind on the subject of education in 1851. He strongly 
opposes, under the circumstances of the country, the retention of a 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 47 

faculty of theology in the national university. He says : "It is 
with difficulty that the great English universities retain their exclu- 
sive religious character : and surely it is needless to attempt to raise 
up such an institution in Canada, after the experience we have 
already had. Canada, which glories in its British parentage, is 
happily placed at such a distance from the seat of empire, that we 
can contemplate the throes of church and state corruption, if not 
without fear, at least not without warning : for just in proportion as 
the church derives support from the state, i.e. from the endowments 
of public property, so is the danger of religious commotion and 
sectarian enmity. This cannot be fostered by surer means than by 
the establishment of an exclusive university." " British Canadian," 
nevertheless, advocates a genial intermingling of religion with com- 
mon affairs. On this point, he delivers himself thus, in Letter ex vii. , 
wherein he draws a picture of the ways of the world, only too truthful : 
" Many persons, I am aware," he says, " are opposed to the intro- 
duction of religion in politics. Not because they are averse to reli- 
gion, but because they consider it a subject too sacred to be mixed 
up with the news of the day. Politics with them is the business of 
the day : religion relates to eternity. In other words, all their 
talents and energies they devote to those objects which seem to 
promise worldly prosperity : and their hours of ease and lassitude 
they devote to religion. How mistaken such persons are, in sepa- 
rating religion from the more immediate business of their lives, I 
need scarcely point out. Suffice it to say, that by so doing they run 
the risk of losing the substance, while they are pursuing the shadow. 
Six days they labour, with no higher object in view than to increase 
their worldly store : the seventh day they generously devote to their 
soul's ease. They go to the house of God for an hour or so, and 
having criticised the sermon, the duties of religion they consider 
fulfilled : and they devote the rest of the week to secular affairs and 
politics. I admit that a newspaper is not the place where we should 
look for a sermon or discourses on the necessity of prayer and the 
virtues of a holy life ; but there are circumstances connected with 
religion which render it not only proper, but which imperatively 
call upon us to take notice of them, and to urge them upon the 
consideration of our fellow-subjects. These circumstances exist in 
Canada West at the present moment." (This in January, 1851.) 



48 CANADIAN NOMS- DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

The letters of " British Canadian" were from the pen of the late 
Mr. Edward Ermatinger, of St. Thomas, author of a valuable and 
interesting " Life of Colonel Talbot, and History of the Talbot Set- 
tlement." 

I am now, finally, to identify some noms-de-plume which from 
time to time in the past have been appended to poetical productions 
of note in our Canadian periodicals, and to give samples of each. In 
accomplishing both portions of this part of my undertaking, I shall 
aim at brevity. 

1. The first of my poetical noms-de-plume is that of " Roseharp." 
In 1823, a literary magazine was issued for a short time at York 
(Toronto), entitled "The Roseharp; for the Encouragement of Loy- 
alty, Genius and Merit ;" and in Fothergill's Weekly Register there 
were occasional communications in verse, subscribed " Roseharp." 
Here is a specimen, dated Jan. 8, 1824 : 

where was Prudence, cautious power, 

When first my venturous youth began ? 
She came not to the Muses' bower, 
Where passed I many an idle hour, 

To tell of life's short fleeting span ; 
Nor did she prophesy of woe 
To chill my heart's impetuous glow. 

' ' But thou, Hope, with eyes so fair, 
What was thy delighted measure ? 
Still it whispered promised pleasure, 

And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail." 
This was my favourite minstrel's song. 

My morn like his was fair and bright — 
Then Hope with Pleasure danced along, 

And gave me visions of delight ; 
Then wildly throbbed each pulse at thy sweet smile r 
O linger yet, sweet Hope, with me awhile. 

The originator of the "Roseharp" miscellany, and the writer of the 
" Roseharp" pieces, was Mr. James M. Cawdell, attached for a time, in 
some capacity, to the Law Courts at Toronto, and formerly an office)' 
in the army. 

2. In 1 825, also from the press of Charles Fothergill, appeared a 
rather elaborate poem entitled " Wonders of the West, or a Day at 
the Falls of Niagara," by " A Canadian." The dramatis personal of 
the story are some French tourists. The metre and style are those 
of Scott's Lady of the Lake. Incidentally we have the following 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 49 

lines in honour of Col. Nichol, recently killed by accidentally driving 
in the darkness of the night over the precipice at Queenston. 

Nichol, the sympathetic tear shall flow 

From all who knew thee, and from all who know 

That, snatched in the prime of life from all that binds 

The heart to earth, and gives to human minds 

A wish to lengthen out existence here, 

From fortune, friends, and family most dear, 

Ambition's prize, nay, merit's claim, in sight, 

Which thou had'st amply earned, both day and night, 

With unremitting toil and anxious care, 

Serving the country both in peace and war. 

When thou had'st reached the summit and prepared 

To cease thy toil, and reap thy just reward, 

Thou wast, that moment, from the summit hurled 

To be rewarded in another world. 

Thy widowed mourner weeps, nor weeps alone — 

A country's grief re-echoes to her moan; 

Weeps for her statesman and her hero dead, 

Nor hopes to find an equal in his stead. 

" A Canadian" was Mr. James Lynne Alexander, afterwards a Clerk 
in Holy Orders. 

3. " Erie-us" was a signature attached to poetical pieces in our 
local periodicals in and before 1838. I quote part of a " Eulogy on 
Sussex Yale in New Brunswick," thus subscribed : 

Fanatic and hypocrite, disfigured in face, 

Rant, cant, sect and radical, here find no place 

The social relations to set all ajar, 

And the sweets of a rational intercourse mar. 

The politeness of kindness, the confidence fair, 

Of integrity meek, unassuming, — the air, 

The port, manner, habit, and action of truth 

And true manliness, wrought into childhood and youth. 

The graces of goodness unshackled by art ; 

The large hospitality warm from the heart ; 

The walk circumscribed by the duties of life ; 

These duties fulfilled without envy and strife. 

Oh, sweet vale of Sussex ! such things did I see 

In thy children, the loyal, the happy and free ; 

And I praised the good ways that our forefathers trod, 

For the building of man in the peace of his G-od. 

I give another sample of Erie-us, taken from a poem of his of 
considerable length, written in 1818, and entitled "Talbot Road." 
Tt commemorates the patriotism and energy of Col. Talbot, the local 
4 



50 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

eponymous hero : it describes the rise and progress of the settlement ; 
its devastation by invaders in 1812 ; its rapid recovery. I select the 
writer's brief recapitulation towards the end of his poem.. It reads 
like a passage from Drayton's Polyolbion. Occasionally a primitive 
local name, as Catfish Creek, is ill-adapted to poetic purposes. Thus 
Erie-us sings : 

In Norfolk county, first the Talbot street, 

East, makes its course through Middleton complete ; 

Thence into Middlesex, through Houghton gore, 

And thence through Bayham, (where was marked before 

A bridle-path) — thence Otter Creek comes down 

From Norwich, lengthwise, nearly through the town, 

On which, e'en now, the oar fair Commerce plies 

And the first efforts of her empire tries — 

Earnest of future wealth. Next, alongside 

Is the fine thriving town of Malahide, 

In which famed Catfish has- its eastern source 

And spreads the richest bottoms in its course. 

Wellington mills, late-built, on Catfish stand, 

To answer agriculture's loud demand ; 

A work substantial, such as should be found 

Where a fine growing country stretches round. 

In order next upon the list appears 

Yarmouth, whose fame has filled ten thousand ears, 

For beauteous plains, rich soil, translucent rills, 

Its rolling surface and its verdant hills ; 

Its waving cornfields and its meadows gay, 

Where bleating flocks already bound and play ; 

A town, St. Thomas, is in Yarmouth laid, 

On a bold bank by Kettle river made, 

O'erlooking the broad vale which 'neath it lies — 

A striking picture in the traveller's eyes. 

Southwold succeeds, in which the North Branch road 

Turns off to Westminster, as has been show'd : 

Next Dunwich, ending Talbot Road the East, 

From whence it is denominated West. 

Next Aldbro'. Now the reader must be sent 

From Middlesex into the county of Kent : 

Then follows Orford, &c. 

" Erie-us" was Adam Hood Burwell, afterwards Col. Burwell, after 
whom Port Burwell on Lake Erie is named.. 

4. I have already given a poetical quotation from " Cinna," and 
identified the writer. That was from a piece in the style of Hood. 
I now give a few lines from a song in graver strain, by the same hand : 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 51 

I trembled when her warbling voice And pride forgot bis dream of self 

Poured fortb tbe tide of song, To utter words of praise. 

And bade tbe admiring bearts rejoice Tbe worm tbe rose's petals fold, 

Of all tbe listening tbrong. Gnaws at its inmost core, 

Wealth ceased tbe while to sum his And love that never must be told 

To catch the thrilling lays ; [pelf, Consumes the heart tbe more. 

5. In 1843, " Plinius Secundus" published at Toronto his " Curiae 
Canadenses ; or, the Canadian Law Courts : being a Poem describing 
the several Courts of Law and Equity," &c. The writer adopts the 
Hudibrastic style. Thus he proceeds : 

A Common Pleas was there erected, 

Where Subject's Eights should be protected. 

Then a Queen's Bench forthwith arose, 

The Suitors' injuries to dispose, 

With a Chief Judge and Puisnes four, 

At every Term to ope tbe door : 

Four times a year beginning Monday, 

And always ending next to Sunday ; 

Cum Banco Sittings for Judgments, Pleadings 

To be digested after readings, 

And as mortalium nemo sapit, — 

Appeal Court then the Record capit, 

Where great and gravest heads do meet, 

To make the Law still more complete. 

Then skill and science to acquire, 

Experience and forensic fire, 

A Practice Court behold appended, 

That Forms and Rules may be amended 

Now, too, is heard from legal forts 

A regular volley of Reports, 

After command from Osgoode's Benches, 

And charge from Chiefs in open Trenches. 

The following lines enumerate the places of public resort to which 
the Judges may betake themselves, if they will, during Vacation : 

Thrice happy soil, where, without measure, 
Enjoyment may flow o'er with pleasure ! 
For Saratoga, or its drinks, 
Tbe Whirlpool or Niagara's brinks, 
Or Caledonia's far-famed springs, 
Or the ten hundred sparkling Rings 
That deck St. Lawrence mighty river, 
Guarding its spangled tide for ever, 
The Judge from toil may well relieve, 
Until his wonted strength retrieve. 



52 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

' ' Plinius Secundus" was Mr. John Rumsey, an English attorney, 
who made Canada his home for a short time. 

6. A writer in our periodicals in 1843 assumed the name of the 
poet who figures in Sir Walter Scott's Pirate, who had " once taken 
a pinch of snuff out of glorious John Dryden's snuff-box, and never 
suffered his friends to forget it" — Claud Halcro. I transcribe his 
" Crusaders' Hymn before Jerusalem :" 

Now onward ! for our banners in the wind are waving free, 

The Sultan's troops are streaming forth like to a surging sea ; 

"God wills it !" is our battle-cry — Jerusalem our prize ; 

We couch the lance, we wield the sword beneath our monarch's eyes. 

Hark ! from the city of our God, our Saviour's hallowed shrine, 

The Saracen's bold music floats, the silver crescents shine ! 

The Infidels have stalled their steeds within her sacred walls ; 

To draw the sword, our Christian faith — our knightly honour, calls ! 

The sun is up — on tower and wall he gilds the flashing spear ; 

But the Lord of Hosts is with us ! Shall Christian warriors fear? 

Raise not the lance, nor stay the sword from slaughter of the foe — 

Peace offerings to the Holy Shrine the Moslem's blood shall flow ! 

Think on the weary pilgrim, o'er the long and toilsome way 

Who dragged his limbs to Salem's walls his pious vows to pay ! 

Just Heaven ! the blighting breath of war surrounds the sacred fane ! 

His humble prayer is laughed to scorn, his march of toil is vain ! 

Look on the holy city, that hath kissed a Saviour's feet, 

E'en there the unbelieving dog with scorn our prayers would greet ! 

Then spur the steed, and brace the arm, and fling defiance high, 

For the trumpet call hath sounded, and the turbaned host is nigh ! 

They come, they come, with hourra wild, and many a bristling spear, 

And the war-shout of the Paynim band breaks on the startled ear ! 

They call, with words of mystery — high-shouted, earnest prayer — 

On Mahomet, their prophet false, his followers to spare ! 

But we unto the living God our hopeful incense send, 

And the shouts of rival hosts with words of adoration blend ! 

Lo, in their van the crescent of bold Saladin, afar 

Gleams brightly from the lesser host, and lights them to the war ! 

But our lion-hearted monarch waves aloft his trusty sword — 

Then onward, we will triumph in our arm of strength, the Lord ! 

" Claud Halcro" was Mr. John Breakenridge of Belleville. Shortly 
before his early death, his poems appeared in a collected form. 

7. Some forty years since, many Canadian readers were familiar 
with the nom-de-plume of " Zadig," subscribed to numerous fugitive 
pieces of graceful verse on historical and patriotic subjects. I tran- 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 53 

scribe some stanzas by this writer, on the "Martial Music of England," 
which is described as perpetually encircling the habitable globe : 

Tis morn on green Australia's woods : 
The broad Pacific's kindling floods, 

Flush'd with warm sunlight, glow ; 
A trumpet wakes the silent dawn, 
A war-drum sweeps its summons on — 

Far, far, the glad sounds flow. 
O'er spicy wave and Indian isle, 
Such strains still greet the day-god's smile, 

Break the bold Briton's rest ; 
Fort William's stern reveille beats, 
O'er realm and main the brave sound fleets, 
O'er the wild Afghan's far retreats 

To Ghuznee's vanquished crest ! 
Awake ! pale giant of the Cape, 
The sunlight gilds thy phantom shape ! 
Wake Mount of Lions, stern and hoar, 
'Tis morn on Afric's golden shore ; 

Then the bold echoes ring ; 
Answers the Spaniard's aerial height — 
Gray Malta's tempest-scoffing might, 
Ionia's isles of song and light, 

Hear the wild music sing. 
Nor silent sleeps th' Atlantic wave — 

The chorus bursts once more 
Up from the Gallic Thunderer's grave — 

Bermuda's summer shore. 
Fair England's voice is swelling now 
Round old Quebec's embattled brow ; 

On, on the war-strains sweep, 
O'er Erie's wave, o'er soft St. Clair, 
Fresh clarions waft the burden there 

O'er Huron's giant deep. 
Lone wood and lake the glad sounds wake, 

Till Columbia's rushing river 
Sweeps its tribute song to the main along — 

Old England's might forever ! 

It was understood that "Zadig" was the nom-de-plume of Mr. J. 
H. Hagarty ; since, the Hon. Chief Justice Hagarty. 

8. I regret that I am not able to give a sample of u Isidore," an 
admired writer of verse some seventeen years since in Montreal 
periodicals. His pieces have been collected in book-form under the 
general title of Voices from the Hearth. They are said to evince 
poetic feeling, melody of diction, and happiness of expression. The 



54 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

author's real name is Ascher. Though called to the Bar in the 
Lower Province, he has taken up his abode in England.* 

9. One who, as a poet, appears to have sought to be known among 
us chiefly as " he who sang the Song of Charity," has, besides the 
composition bearing that title, contributed to our literature several 
pieces of permanent interest. I quote the close of a poem of his, 
entitled "A Canadian Summer's Night." It is a picturesque descrip- 
tion of the sights and sounds and suggestions of a night spent on the 
waters of Lake Couchiching. 

The lights upon the distant shore And time it were for us to take 
That shone so redly, shine no more : Our homeward course across the lake 
The Indian fisher's toil is o'er. Ere yet the tell-tale moon awake. 

Already in the eastern skies, Night — where old shape-hauntings dwell, 

Where up and up new stars arise, Though now, calm-eyed : — for thy soft spell, 
A pearly lustre softly lies. soothing Night ! I thank thee well. 

Just before, a canoe had been passed, evidently bound for Rama. A 
momentary contest of speed between it and the white man's craft is 
described : 

Swifter and swifter on we go ; Though swift and light the birch canoe, 

For though the breeze but feigns to It cannot take the palm from you, 

blow, My little boat, so trim and true. 
Its kisses catch us, soft and low. 

"Indian, where away to-night?" 

But with us now, and side by side, "Homewards I wend : yon beacon-light 

Striving awhile for place of pride, Shines out for me:— Good night !" "Good 

A silent dusky form doth glide. night !" 



* I have never observed a copy of Mr. Ascher's poems exposed for sale at any of the book- 
sellers' in Toronto. The absence of inter- communication between publishers in the Canadian 
cities is a curious phenomenon. Books published in Quebec, Montreal and Halifax are by no 
means, as a matter of course, to be seen in Toronto ; and, in like manner, books published in 
Toronto are not, as a matter of course, to be seen in Quebec, Montreal and Halifax. In a recent 
editorial of a literary paper of wide circulation published at Montreal (the Canadian Illustrated 
News), it was amusing to have the writer confessing that he had never seen Mr. Watson's 
"Legend of the Roses," although he had reason, he said, to believe it "a work of the highest 
character ; " and two years had elapsed since its presentation to the public. This was because 
Mr. Watson's book happened to be printed at Toronto, and not in Montreal. It is probable 
that M. Edmond Lareau, of Montreal, had in 1874 never chanced to form the acquaintance of 
the Canadian Journal, published now for more than twenty years at Toronto, under the 
auspices of the Canadian Institute. We should otherwise have seen in his "Histoire de la 
Litterature Canadienne," some reference to the many valuable contributions to Canadian 
science,, literature, and history which are to be found in its pages. M. Lareau's enumeration 
of Franco-Canadian writers is copious and interesting. On the issue of a new work in any Cana- 
dian town, might not a few copies be sent to the principal booksellers in each of the other 
Canadian towns for the inspection of customers ; to be taken back if not sold within a given 
time? This practice would perhaps produce more buyers than the customary newspaper 
notices do at present. 



CANADIAN N0M8-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 55 

He who sang the " Song of Charity," it is probably no serious breach 
of secrecy to state, was Professor Chapman of the University of 
Toronto. 

10. To one more poetic nom-de-plume of distinction Canadian 
literature may in some sort put in a claim, namely, that of " Wil. 
D'Leina, Esq., of the Outer Temple." It is to be observed that the 
recent edition of a collection of " Spring Wild Flowers," to which 
that pseudonym was at first prefixed, is dated from Toronto ; and 
some pieces now included in it will be recognized as having once 
graced the pages of the Canadian Monthly, published in Toronto. 
The author, speaking in his own name, in the new edition refers 
to these productions as " sins of his youth." Splendida peccata, 
will be the reader's observation after a study of the volume. I give 
brief samples : 

Oh, to be in Scotland now 
When the mellow autumn smiles 

So pleasantly on knoll and howe ; 

Where from rugged cliff and heathy brow 
Of each mountain height you look down defiles 

Golden with the harvest's glow. 

Oh, to be in the kindly land, 
Whether mellow autumn smile or no, 

It is well if the joyous reaper stand 

Breast-deep in the yellow corn, sickle in hand ; 
But I care not though sleety east winds blow, 

So long as I tread its strand. 

To be wandering there at will, 
Be it sunshine or rain, or its winds that brace ; 

To climb the old familiar hill ; 

Of the storied landscape to drink my fill, 
And look out on the gray old town at its base, 

And linger a dreamer still. 



Oh, to he in Scottish earth, 
Lapped in the clods of its kindly soil ; 

Where the soaring laverock's song has birth 

In the welkin's blue ; and its heavenward mirth 
Lends a rapture to earthborn toil — 

What matter ! Death recks not the dearth. 



56 CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 

And here is the opening of a colloquy between " Earth and Sea." 
Sitteth the green Earth and hearkeneth to the Sea, 
Ever as its moaning waves croon lullabie ; 
Ever as its troubled waves ask : " Earth ! Earth ! 
Where wert thou, mother auld, afore my birth ? 
Where wert thou then, and what wilt thou be 
In the coming time o' Eternitie ?" 
Answereth the Earth to the vexed Sea : 
" I was a maiden afore I bore thee ; 
In the formless void, where nae sun had shone, 
I was a maiden, and dwelt all alone ; 
As like to sic home as a babe could be 
Fresh come frae the womb of Eternitie." 
" And what did'st thou in thy long, long home ?" 
Answereth the green Earth : " Long did I roam ; 
But Eternitie's wider than Chaos's pall, 
An' God's eye's above, and his hand 'neath all ; 
And I heard far-off sounds that whispered to me 
In the crooning chimes o' Eternitie ; 
An' the life divine was aye brooding o'er me, 
Till Time woke frae dreaming when I bore thee. 
Within th' eerie caves of thy dark, deep womb, 
Strange types of being fand kindly home, 
Till in forms of beauty young life gat free 
Frae the lone, lang dream o' Eternitie." 

This garland of spring flowers, which, after the lapse of perhaps a 
quarter of a century, has been presented to the world afresh by the 
Messrs. Nelson of Edinburgh, was put together by the hand of 
Professor Daniel Wilson, now of Toronto, of whose name Wil. 
D'Leina is a partial anagram. 

I might add the nom-de-plume of " Fidelis," and identify it. Dis- 
tinguished as it has now become amongst us, in the departments 
of poetry, of prose-fiction, of metaphysical discussion, it has won and 
will retain a place in our nascent literature. But it was no part of 
my design to glean in recently opened spaces in the Canadian field of 
letters, but to confine myself to products of the first clearings. Pos- 
sibly hereafter a Canadian Warton, a Canadian Hallam, a Canadian 
Taine, desirous of seeing of what kind were the very first shootings 
forth of cultivated Canadian intellect, will be thankful for the enu- 
meration of pseudonyms now given, and for samples of the writings 
to which they are appended. 

In the future, I suppose, there will still from time to time be 
appearing, under feigned names, discussions of political, social, and 



CANADIAN NOMS-DE-PLUME IDENTIFIED. 57 

general subjects, and works of fiction in prose and poetry, all so 
strongly stamped by cleverness and good sense, and so remarkable for 
the vigour, and purity, and beauty of their conception and execution, 
as to induce a general curiosity, and even pride, in relation to their 
authorship. But I think the fashion of writing in a veiled way will 
probably not again come into vogue to the extent in which it was 
prevalent during the reign of the Georges and previously. We have 
now to congratulate ourselves, not only on the settlement of numer- 
ous exasperating questions — which set our grandfathers at home and 
here by the ears, and the open discussion of which brought with it 
peril to life and limb — but also on the possession of a free press, and 
consequent upgrowth amongst us of a greater liberality of sentiment 
and a more charitable public opinion. Milton's doctrine has pre- 
vailed : " What advantage is it to be a man," asks Milton in his 
Areopagitica (ii. 78), " over it is to be a boy at school, if we have 
only escaped the ferula to come under the fescue of an imprimatur 1 
if serious and elaborate writings, as if they were no more than the 
theme of a grammar-lad under his pedagogue, must not be uttered 
without the cursory eyes of a temporizing and extemporizing licenser 1 
He who is not trusted with his own actions — his drift not being 
known to be evil, and standing to the hazard of law and penalty — 
has no great argument to think himself reputed in the commonwealth 
wherein he was born for other than a fool or a foreigner." 

Writers here and in Britain will probably more and more here- 
after, deliver what they have to say, over their own names, fearlessly 
and without reproach, enjoying the kudos and the gratitude which 
communities are ever ready to accord to those who will embody in 
apt language for them their own latent thoughts, and conveniently 
supply to them " aids to reflection," and sensible views of their sur- 
roundings in the universe. Such is the choice of the contributors to 
the modern influential periodicals, the Contemporary and the Fort- 
nightly, each writer signing his own name, and " standing," as Milton 
speaks, "to the hazard of law and penalty." Or else, as we see done 
in the grave pages of the old Quarterlies, in the ever-ready, masterly 
daily leaders of the London Times, and in the multitudinous free- 
lance onslaughts of the Saturday Review, they will prefer to discuss 
questions wholly in the abstract, putting out of the way altogether 
the disturbing consideration of authorship, and letting words and 
arguments go exactly for what they are worth. 






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